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Flats plan at Stone's Canal Wharf gets mixed reaction

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 19, 2014

Crown Wharf, Stone

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Stone residents have welcomed plans to build independent living apartments for older people on the town's Canal Wharf car park - but traders have raised fears over the loss of town centre parking.

Developers McCarthy and Stone wans to create the flats for people aged 60 and over on a brownfield site  in Crown Street, which is currently used for free parking and is owned by the Canal and River Trust.

As well as the homes and private parking spaces, the development would include landscaped gardens and the restoration of the derelict Wharfinger's Cottage.

But some businesses have expressed concern that the loss of parking spaces around the town centre could affect their trade.

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The developers held a public exhibition on Thursday at the Christ Church Centre to give local people an opportunity to view and comment on the preliminary plans.

Edward Hampton, who lives at Joules Court, another McCarthy and Stone independent living apartment in Stone,said he was interested in moving to the new site if the plans go ahead. The 82-year-old said: "It will be a good addition to our age group. We don't want assisted living, but we want independent living.

"There are a lot of elderly people who want to live in the centre of town, near to local amenities such as the supermarket, doctor's and dentist, and this site would be perfect for that. It will also be in a wonderful location next to the canal.

"My only concern is that the rooms will not be big enough and this needs to be addressed."

Ian Sprott, development surveyor at the Canal and River Trust said: "We marketed the site and had a lot of interest.

"One of the things we were keen on with McCarthy and Stone's plans were that it will make use of the derelict Warfinger's Cottage."

But some businesses in the town have raised fears that the residential development could affect their trade.

Karen Wyatt runs the Canal Cruising Company, which is based next to the proposed site. The 54-year-old, from Stone, said: "This business has been running for over 65 years and I am concerned that if people move into apartments, they will complain about the noise and smell.

"I think it could be a big threat to the business.

"Looking at the current plans, the development will be too big and the apartments will be too high. It's not appropriate for the site.

"I don't think the apartments are needed in the town and it's just another nail in the coffin for Stone. We will lose another free car park. Where will all those cars go?"

Darren Humphreys, regional managing director at McCarthy and Stone, said: "We have spent time carefully researching the architecture and character of the local area, and our proposals feature a traditional design.

"We've worked hard to make sure our proposal for the site feels like it belongs to Stone. The comments we received will help us tailor our proposal into something people will want to see, enjoy and call home."

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