NEW retirement apartments have been given the go-ahead after claims that the development would ‘harm the character of the area’ were dismissed.

Churchill Retirement Living has won a planning appeal to build 39 privately-owned flats in Handforth.

The development is set to transform the former Cypress House nursing home on South Acre Drive which has been vacant since 2006.

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The apartments will contribute £300,000 to the local economy and create around 78 new jobs during and after construction.

In the appeal decision notice, Government planning inspector Stephen Wilkinson concluded that the proposed development ‘would not cause harm to the character and appearance of the area’.

Reaching his decision he placed ‘significant weight on the provision of older persons' accommodation given the extent of demand for this type of use in the council area, which is higher than the national average’.

The new development will provide attractive, high quality, secure and self-contained accommodation in landscaped grounds.

Residents will enjoy independent living and a sense of community, with a communal lounge, a guest suite, a lodge manager, and a 24 hour emergency call alarm service.

Stuart Goodwill, managing director of Churchill’s planning consultancy, said: “This is a very positive result and we will now look forward to starting work as soon as possible on this new development which will create a vibrant new community in the heart of Handforth.

“Retirement housing is the most effective form of residential development for generating local economic growth, supporting local jobs, and increasing high street spend.

“The new apartments will also help improve the health and wellbeing of those who live there and meet the housing needs of many older people in Handforth and the surrounding area.”

Churchill says this development allows people to downsize and free up under occupied houses for families and first time buyers.

Each person living in a retirement property typically experiences reduced health risks, contributing to savings to local NHS and social care services of around £3,500 per person per year.

This development will provide older people with safety, security and companionship and could create health and social care savings of over £177,000 per year.

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