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Work starts on Cradley's controversial retirement village
1:30pm Thursday 1st August 2013 in News
THE controversial building of an £18 million retirement village on the site of Cradley’s former high school finally started this week.
Housing and care group Midland Heart’s plan to build the town’s first extra care scheme for the over 55s sparked a storm of protest from nearby residents and the friends’ group of the adjoining Homer Hill Park.
Dudley Council approved the plans in March despite objections over the loss of public open space in the park for an access road and fears of traffic congestion.
The complex, designed to promote independent living for the borough’s over 55s, will have 120 one and two bedroom apartments for rent, sale and shared ownership purchase.
It is being developed in partnership with the council and will include communal leisure facilities including a shop, restaurant, library, gym and wellbeing facility with completion due in spring 2015.
But Friends of Homer Hill Park secretary Val Bloomer said the park had been split in two by the access road already.
“It’s horrendous what they have done to our park. They’ve also taken a bigger piece of land that was going to be public open space for car parking - another broken promise,” she said.
Mrs Bloomer has also called for “insensitive” signage warning trespassers to keep off private land along the park track to be replaced with more appropriate safety signs during the construction.
She said: “The track is part of the park, they’ve just got easements over it. It belongs to the people of Cradley and is not private land.”
But Midland Heart director Carl Larter said the project had gone “from strength to strength”.
“With the help of our partners, we are pleased to be leading on a project that brings significant investment into the area and create much needed purpose built accommodation for older people,” he said.
Councillor Dave Branwood, cabinet member for adult and community services, added: “The well-being of our older citizens and ensuring they have a decent quality of life in their older years is one of our key priorities. We know that the older population is increasing and that people are living longer.”
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