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Controversial Barbourne retirement home given planning permission

Worcester Editorial 23rd Jun, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

PLANS to create a new retirement home in Barbourne have been given the green light by councillors despite opposition from a neighbouring school.

As we reported last week, Ian Taylor, headteacher of the Riversides School, which caters for children with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties, raised a series of concerns about McCarthy and Stone’s proposals.

The £6million scheme would see 60 apartments created at the site of Worcester College of Technology’s Art and Design School on Barbourne Road, which is due to move to the former Russell and Dorrell building.

But in a letter to the council, Mr Taylor said the developer’s plans to demolish a building at the rear of the side, which the school used for PE classes, to make way for a car park would leave them needing to find a new venue to play sport.

“Sport is used as a way of relieving pent up pressure and aggression in a structured manner which is imperative for these pupils, so the demolition of the sports facility will cause the school immense problems,” he said.

“Firstly, finding somewhere locally where the pupils can do PE which does not waste curriculum time transporting pupils to and from the venue and secondly any additional costs.”

Speaking at a meeting of Worcester City Council’s planning committee last Thursday (June 19), Coun Andy Roberts echoed Mr Taylor’s concerns about the loss of the building, which children used to play badminton, five-a-side football and cricket in the winter.

However, Alan Coleman, senior planning officer, said it was an informal arrangement with the college which meant there was no need to retain it as part of the scheme.

Coun Roger Berry added: “This is obviously a very important site and I welcome its use for elderly people. Barbourne has a significant advantage because it is so accessible to the town centre.”

Darren Humphreys, regional managing director for McCarthy and Stone, said he was delighted the scheme, which would be designed around a courtyard area, was unanimously backed by the city council.

“We have worked hard to deliver a sensitive design which retains important aspects of the site’s existing building, including its attractive frontage,” he said.

“There has always been strong local support for our plans as well as a high level of local interest, which has reinforcing our belief that our proposal will enhance the character of the local area and address an existing housing need.”

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