THE LONG-RUNNING saga over the proposed retirement complex on the Cottage Hospital site rumbled on after a leading Pershore councillor accused developers of ‘intimidating’ planning chiefs into backing their application.
Coun Charles Tucker, who represents the town on Wychavon District Council, has hit out at Churchill Retirement Living, who is planning to build 23 apartments for the elderly, after the firm lodged an appeal against a decision to defer their application at a planning meeting back in December.
The application was deferred after planners voiced concern about the number of car parking spaces the apartment block would provide; with local residents concerned it would pile the pressure onto parking on Defford Road.
But, Churchill have now submitted a fresh application and added two additional parking spaces after bowing to public pressure and the planners concerns.
The developer’s first application will now have to be dealt with by the Planning Inspector, but by submitting a second proposal Coun Tucker claims the developers are trying to force their application through.
“I had hoped that Churchill wanted to work with the community,” Coun Tucker said.
“This shows they’re determined to force their planning application through whatever local people say.
“These sorts of games are played by developers to intimidate councils into giving permission despite flaws in the proposals.”
Andrew Burgess, Churchill Retirement Living Planning Director, said: “The first application was primarily deferred in view of the Committee’s concerns in respect of the level of car parking provision. Our application will now include two additional parking spaces.”
David Hammond, Housing and Planning Services manager for Wychavon District Council, said:
“We’re aware of the appeal regarding the initial application which means we will no longer be able to make a decision on the application ourselves and it will now be up to the Planning Inspectorate to determine.
“We can confirm we have received a new application for the site and will consider it in accordance with our processes and against local and national planning policies.”