Controversial retirement village plans for Cradley revised

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UNDER-fire plans for an £18 million retirement village on the former Cradley High School site have been amended in a bid to appease objectors.

An emergency Cradley Forum meeting has been hastily arranged for next Monday (January 28) to put the revised plans by Midland Heart housing association to the public.

Nearby residents have led a vociferous campaign against the proposed development fearing loss of green space, parking and road safety problems, over development of the site and light pollution.

Cradley and Wollescote councillor Richard Body said Midland Heart had listened to the views of residents and have lowered the height of the 130 apartment block from four storeys to three, after meeting with objectors last November.

The company, which specialises in extra care developments for the over 55s, has also gone back to the drawing board in a bid to re-design the access, following outrage at the proposed loss of land in neighbouring Homer Hill Park for a widened access route to the site.

Cllr Body, who as chairman of the park’s friends’ group objected to the original plans, said Midland Heart was looking at retaining the road as one-way rather than widening it to make it two-way.

He said: “I think the changes are really good. I am really happy that Midland Heart have gone out of their way to meet with me and change things. They have listened to the people.”

Fellow ward councillor Tim Crumpton agreed Midland Heart was making “quite large amendments” in reducing the scale of the building from four storeys to three, which would make it less visible.

“At least with this we have got a responsible developer, someone will to talk. These are substantial changes and we welcome that.”

“We have got a development that we need. There may be some people who still object, but life is about compromise.”

Monday’s public meeting will be at the Providence Methodist Church, Windmill Hill, at 7pm. Dudley’s development control committeee is due to consider the plans on Monday February 18.

Midland Heart deputy director Nick Byrne said: “We are committed to working with the local community throughout any new development and we have carefully listened to the concerns raised following lengthy public consultation.

“We have worked closely with our partners at Dudley Council to make significant changes to the proposed plans; these include reducing the original four storey building to three floors and moving the building further away from the homes of nearby residents.”

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