PROPOSED REDEVELOPMENT OF WARRENS COACHWORKS, TICEHURST
We have now submitted our planning application for 25 extra care apartments together with an on site care facility and retail unit. You can view the planning application online here. I thought it might be useful to give you an update on the work that has been going on to take into account the comments from the planning officers and other stakeholders.
Having met with the planning officers in August 2007 to discuss the scheme, they wrote to us indicating that they had concerns over the design, size and massing of the building and its impact on the street scene. We were a little surprised as we had not received a single adverse comment from the residents but felt that if we were to gain the officers' support we would look at things again. This entailed a total re-design of the scheme which has taken some time.
We have also had extensive discussions with EDF Energy and have been working together to improve the access to the electricity substation at the rear of the site which will dramatically improve the current arrangements. We have now been able to provide them with a proper access, parking and turning area which will avoid issues in the future of vehicles parking on the High Street. It will also facilitate any future improvements to the substation for the benefit of local residents.
We had noted through discussions with the Parish Council that the expressed desire of the village was to have some traffic calming measures introduced and a pedestrian crossing to improve the safety of the High Street. We have agreed to facilitate this by contributing the costs of these measures as part of any planning consent we achieve via a 106 agreement. This would allow the village to use these monies (approx £25,000) toward other projects.
We are very excited about the new scheme and feel the redesign has served to allow us to improve on the original one to everyone’s benefit. We are also looking to enhance the services already available to future purchasers to include on site care staff, meals service and domestic assistance making this Rother’s first private extra-care scheme serving both the more active local elderly and also able to cater for those needing more support than in normal retirement schemes.
To this end we have agreed with our care partner Audley for them to take 2,000 sq ft of the commercial space to use as offices for their domiciliary care business which will deliver support to the scheme and the local community. Included in this space will be a staff sleep-over room which can double as a daytime treatment room and resource for visiting therapists, along with a small kitchen for distribution of prepared meals. We have also had approaches from local traders wishing to talk to us about leasing the remaining commercial unit and we hope to have those agreed shortly which will not only preserve the historic employment numbers on the site but should exceed them.
Unfortunately Rother planners have made it clear that they do not see this as an appropriate use of the site and that the onus is on us to prove otherwise. We therefore need your help to convince them that this scheme will benefit the residents of Ticehurst and the surrounding parish and that B1 uses such as offices or workshops are not appropriate for its location.
We have added the latest plans for your information and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have by contacting me on 01892 545 382 or e-mail.