By Ian Dipple Thursday 17 October 2013 Updated: 18/10 14:38
CAMPAIGNERS have called for the site of an abandoned council building formerly used to house the homeless to be turned into affordable bungalows for the elderly.
Webheath Action Group has received the backing of Redditch MP Karen Lumley for the plan regarding Upper Norgrove House and its land.
Resident Jan Anderson, a former senior regeneration and development manager at Birmingham City Council, put forward the proposal to build one and two bedroom bungalows, as well as potentially flats and apartments, on the site which would be sold at 75 per cent of market value.
They would be specifically targeted at the elderly with legal agreements drawn up to ensure they continued to be sold at a discount and a means tested process could be introduced to ensure it benefited those most in need.
The Victorian home was used by Redditch Borough Council as temporary accommodation for homeless households until it closed in 2008. An application by the council to build up to 30 homes and flats was rejected in 2010 because the land forms part of the Webheath Area of Development Restraint, which at the time was not due to be considered for development until 2011 and councillors felt the application was premature.
At the time Webheath residents opposed the plan claiming it would be used as a ‘Trojan horse’ to allow hundreds more homes to be built on the wider ADR.
But David Rose, chair of WAG, said they backed the latest plan as there was a need for affordable housing for the elderly in Redditch, it would free up family homes on the open market and would be a ‘more tranquil option for households close to the development’.
“WAG want small scale sensible developments, not massive unsustainable housing estates that will ruin people’s lives.”
John Staniland, executive director of planning and regeneration, regulatory and housing services, said the site was part of the council’s emerging local plan setting out where development would take place up to 2030.
“This particular part of the Webheath strategic site is council-owned and it’s not impossible that it could be suitable for the use being suggested during the plan period. As with all its property assets, the council will consider all the options.”
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