AN exhibition detailing McCarthy and Stone’s plans to demolish the War Memorial Cottage Hospital and build retirement apartments has drawn feedback from Knutsfordians.

The developer set up camp in St John’s Church from 3pm to 7pm on Thursday, November 30, to showcase plans and ask for feedback, welcoming around 65 visitors over the course of the session.

Plans involve knocking the Memorial House building down and rebuilding a structure with 46 one and two-bedroom ‘Retirement Living’ apartments, while also creating a public garden featuring original features of the current building.

The building was fundraised and built by the community in the wake of the First World War, as a hospital which was then run by the NHS and British Red Cross before being sold to McCarthy and Stone earlier this year.

Ian Wilkins, north west regional managing director for McCarthy and Stone, said: “We were delighted with the level of interest shown in our plans. It is obvious that there is great affection for the building.

“However, many people appreciated that there needed to be an alternative use for the site. “At the exhibition, we received feedback from 17 individuals and we were pleased that over 64 per cent of respondents firmly agreed that provision of specialist housing for older people in Knutsford was a good use for the site.

“To us it was really helpful to speak to local residents, who put forward their views on our plans including the creation of a memorial garden and retention of the memorial aspects of the site.”

McCarthy and Stone will now be reviewing feedback and say that, where possible, it will be incorporated into the final scheme before submitting a planning application to Cheshire East Council later this month.

Douglas and Sheila Sach, who attended the exhibition, said the development has the potential to fill a void in Knutsford. They live in a large family property and are looking to downsize.

Sheila said: “We want somewhere we can walk into town, and we want to stay in Knutsford – so long as we have got somewhere to go and walk we are happy.

“It seems like an opportunity. It’s a shame that it’s got to be where it is but that’s where the land is.

“We feel a bit more positive after looking at the plan. It’s desperately needed – there is absolutely nothing in Knutsford and no one is allowing for downsizing.

“These apartments are decently sized – there is nothing in between and I think this is needed.”

Outside the exhibition, a petition opposing the sale gained signatures.

Charlotte Peters Rock, who is campaigning against the sale of the community war memorial site, said: “McCarthy and Stone held what they seem to be calling ‘a consultation’ last Thursday.

“Staff informed me that they had sent out 2000 invitations to local people, but only to those living closest to Knutsford War Memorial.

“Yet the local community, which paid for that war memorial, amounts, I am told, to around 21,000 people, living in Knutsford and in very many villages round about, including The Peovers, Allostock, Plumley, Knolls Green, Chelford, Ollerton, Tabley, Mobberley and Altrincham.

“Were they ‘consulted’? I think not. Nor were most people living in Knutsford.”