A DEVELOPER is reconsidering is plans to revamp the former Hythe police station with retirement flats.
McCarthy & Stone (M&S) has had two unpopular sets of proposals to develop the Jones Lane site knocked back since the facility closed down in 2017.
That, an M&S spokesman admitted, had prompted a rethink. “McCarthy & Stone is currently reviewing its position on the Jones Lane site, following the refusal of our revised application, and discussions are ongoing with the police as to how the site will come forward,” she said.
“Whilst we very much still believe our proposals to provide much-needed specialist retirement accommodation in the area would be a suitable redevelopment of the site, we need to review our plans and assess whether we are able to bring this forward whilst responding to the previous reasons for refusal.”
M&S’s first bid for 35 flats and parking provision for over 30 cars was likened to a prison by NFDC members before refusal in 2017. An appeal by M&S failed at a public hearing.
The developer came back with a scaled-down 33-home plan, but in June NFDC chief planning officer Claire Upton-Brown ruled it was “of poor design quality which would be disproportionately large and out of scale with other buildings in the locality”.
There were 31 letters of objection to the latter bid and three in support. Dissenters included Hythe and Dibden Parish Council and the Jones Lane and Dibden Lodge Close Residents Association.
Concerns included there already being a “large number” of retirement flats in the village, the lack of starter homes for young people, inadequate parking and the height of the building.
The police station site has now lain empty for three years, police officers having left as part of a cost-cutting move to share a base at Hardley fire station in Falconer Court.