A GRADE II listed building will soon be retirement apartments after planners approved plans to transform Stafford’s Green Hall.
McCarthy and Stone Retirement Lifestyles Ltd will demolish prefabricated buildings surrounding the Lichfield Road site and build a new block housing 45 apartments.
There will also be a 40-space car park and the listed building will be converted into eight homes. A small block of three mews houses will also be provided to provide affordable housing.
Another 50-space car park will be provided for Staffordshire County Council staff. The county authority previously owned the land.
Objector Steve Marsh said he broadly supported the proposal but was concerned about additional traffic generated by a council car park and residents.
“The whole development is essential but I would question whether the dedicated council car parking is necessary. At peak times the traffic through the Oval is already busy.”
The company said it would be a sustainable development set in attractive landscaped gardens managed and maintained to a high standard.”
Ward Councillor Chris Baron said: “I’m not against this development in principal. It will be good for the area and tidy up the site which has been needed for a long time. But I don’t really see why we need 50 car parking spaces but highways haven’t objected.”
Councillor Mike Winkle said: “Why have McCarthy and Stone agreed to a car park for county council staff and will it be in perpetuity or will there be a time limit.
Councillor Frank James said: “We have only got three affordable homes on here. This town centre is crying out for affordable housing and we have a golden opportunity to put some there and we have thrown it away.”
Councillor Barry Stamp said: “Our policy talks about 30 per cent affordable homes – my rough calculation came out at about 15 affordable houses on this site.”
Planning manager Jon Holmes said the district valuer had estimated a payment of nearly £300,000 could be payable but the developer had agreed to put three affordable homes on the site as well as paying £57,000.
Councillor Frances Beatty said: “I understand Councillor Stamp’s concerns. The problem of affordable housing provision is not going to go away. This happens to be a very difficult site because of it’s grade II listed status.”
The committee approved the plans by nine votes to two.