AMBITIOUS plans to build a state-of-the-art retirement village on land next to a busy road in Stow-on-the-Wold have fallen at the first hurdle.
Cotswold District Council’s planning committee refused outline planning permission for the complex, which would be able to house more than 100 residents, after concluding that access to the site would prove dangerous.
The application for the care centre boasted extensive facilities for its residents such as a spa, launderette, library and computer room.
English Care Villages, the applicant, had intended to build the retirement village on land directly next to the A429 Fosse Way road, just south of Stow.
Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday, March 12, Andrew Eastabrook, of Stow Town Council, said that driving into the site would be a nightmare.
“The proposed access will be extremely dangerous. A right-hand turn on this fast moving stretch of road will cause problems,” he said.
He concluded by urging the committee to refuse the application because “there was no justification for it”.
David Scott-Malden, operations director for English Care Villages, hit back at the criticism over access and insisted that the firm had worked closely with Gloucestershire Highways to ensure that entry to the village would be as safe as possible.
Several committee members expressed a worry over the issue, Cllr Sue Jepson said she was “concerned” that an increase in vehicles would add to the “severe traffic jams” that are common on that stretch of the A429.
Mark Power, area manager at Gloucestershire Highways, said that since 2009 only one person had been injured in a car accident on the 250metres of road either side of the site entrance.
He also said that the A429 did not attract the same level of traffic as other major roads in the county and that Gloucestershire Highways would not raise an objection to the application.
Members of the committee also questioned the benefits local people would gain from having the retirement village on their doorstep.
Cllr Margaret Rickman said: “This will just be for wealthy people. It will not help elderly people who are living nearby. It must be rejected.”
The view was shared by Stow Town Council, which also objected on the grounds that a number of trees and shrubberies would need to be felled.
A proposal to refuse the build was put to the group with 13 members voting in favour of throwing the plans out.
Anyone who would like to view the plans can do so by visiting the planning register at www.cotswold.gov.uk.