Council’s plans for £8.6million housing project move closer

Eric O'Shaughnessy funeral is being held this afternoon
Eric O'Shaughnessy funeral is being held this afternoon

Mansfield District Council is set to move forward with plans to build 54 homes for elderly people on the site of the former general hospital in the town, as part of a £8.6million project.

Executive mayor of the council, Kate Allsop, made a delegated decision on Friday to develop the site and, at the same time, recommended to full council to approve a budget of £8.6million for the scheme. This figure is due to be finally approved on December 1 when the council meets.

A planning application for the scheme has already been submitted and is due to be considered by the planning committee in early February 2016.

Once the budget is set by the council, the authority will begin a procurement process to assign a contractor to develop the site. This is likely to take about four months and building work on the site is due to begin in the summer of 2016 and take up to 18 months to complete. The council will maintain ownership and management of the properties built and they will be let through its Homefinder service.

Mrs Allsop said: “This is going to bring a much needed housing for this age group in the town and if some of the tenants are downsizing, it could help release larger homes for families which are also very much in demand.

“We could have just sold the site for someone else to develop but we felt that it was important to offer more affordable housing in the district and developing the site ourselves is the best way to achieve this.”

The scheme will bring back into use a plot of land which has been unused for at least 20 years and, along with the Poppy Fields extra care scheme.

In her decision, Mrs Allsop rejected an alternative option to sell the site to a developer in favour of the council developing the site itself. The reason for this, according to the council, was because selling the site would not guarantee the delivery of new housing and was unlikely to deliver the same amount of affordable housing.

The scheme for the former hospital site has been designed by the council’s in-house architects. It will be a gated scheme and provide 12 two-bedroom bungalows and 42 apartments, 34 with two bedrooms and eight with one bedroom.

The properties will be located around the outside of the site with a “village green” in the middle which will be ‘sensitively’ landscaped and incorporate outdoor fitness equipment and raised allotments to promote health and well-being.

The rent for these homes would be set at £450 per calendar month for the bungalows, £370 pcm for the one-bedroom apartments and £415 pcm for the two-bedroom apartments. These figures could alter by the time the properties are complete.

The homes will accommodate older people with general needs, support needs and possibly care needs. In return for a financial contribution towards the scheme, Nottinghamshire County Council has expressed an interest in securing nomination rights for ten of the homes. This is being considered, in principle, by the council’s adult social care and health committee on 30 November.