Plans for retirement apartments at old school in Chippenham rejected

Plans for over 100 retirement apartments to be built in Chippenham have been rejected.

The former technical school built in 1898 on Cocklebury Road was to be demolished to make way for the new blocks.

But Wiltshire Council rejected the plans based on design and heritage grounds in a planning meeting on February 1.

The scheme was for two big blocks, accommodating a total of 113 apartments for the elderly.  

One block would consist of 44 apartments and the other would have 69.

Additionally, there were to be 71 new parking spaces.

The plans triggered a lot of controversy, with many objections.

One comment made on the application says: “I strongly object to the proposal for a further retirement complex.

“The town does not have the required infrastructure to support further retirement buildings.

“There is not enough standard housing whilst there is a proliferation of retirement buildings currently available.

“You will also notice that any staffing needed there is always a shortage within Chippenham anyway.

“Add to this the lack of GP facilities already within Chippenham and then add more residents of the town who will likely need a higher than average medical support, it is untenable.

“The location is also not appropriate for elderly with having to navigate steep hills to access basic amenities.

“Also the large increase of traffic from construction would further exacerbate the awful traffic build ups on station hill.”

Another says: “I would like to object to this proposal as the property market is, and has been for a long time, saturated with Retirement Homes.

“There are currently 53 on the market – this is NOT including new build (of which there are at least 46 at St Andrews Lodge).

“Some of these apartments have been for sale for a number of years without being sold – even when sellers are prepared to lose a considerable amount of money to try to secure sale.

“The sheer number of available apartments show that there is no need for additional retirement apartments.

“This is prime building land for first time buyer properties, where the location would suit best to those who wish to commute.”

However, the applicants have the opportunity to appeal the decision and take their proposal to the government planning inspector, should they wish.