Retirement ‘village’ gets go ahead despite experts’ objections

Meadowcroft
Meadowcroft

A NEW retirement “village” in a leafy area of Hartlepool has won permission after councillors clashed with officers.

The 14-unit development in the grounds of the Grade Two listed building Meadowcroft, in the West Park area, was approved by Hartlepool Borough Council.

The owner and applicant told the authority’s planning committee the scheme would help to maintain the historic building and help local residents to downsize without having to leave the area.

Councillors voted five to two in favour of the application, going against the recommendation of their officers.

Officers said the proposed development would intrude on the views from and to listed buildings in the vicinity and cause significant harm to the character of the Park Conservation Area.

But members felt the proposal for the retirement units had been sympathetically designed and would help maintain Meadowcroft.

Applicant and owner Steve Cockrill told the meeting: “Our proposal would not be a get-rich-quick project but would enable the substantial repair costs, securing the future of one of the town’s few remaining assets in private ownership.

“It will maintain the history and heritage of this wonderful building.”

Mr Cockrill said more than £400,000 had been spent on the proposals and would “allow a wonderful corner of tranquillity to be enjoyed by many”.

Meadowcroft was built in 1895 for the wine and spirits merchant John Rickinson. The council says it remains one of the town’s best and most intact examples of the area’s grand suburban estate.

The retirement village will consist of blocks of six, four and two unit dormer bungalows.

Neighbour Julia Patterson strongly objected to the application saying it would be out of keeping with the area and felt the access off Elwick Road would be dangerous.

But ward councillor Brenda Loynes said: “Anyone living in West Park who wish to downsize are left with no option but to move out of the area which is totally unacceptable.”

Fellow Rural West ward councillor Ray Martin-Wells added Meadowcroft could end up falling into disrepair like Tunstall Court if the council did not support the proposals.

Listed building consent was also granted.