Trust submits plans for 230-bed retirement village


Plans for a 230-bed retirement village “equal to the size of the Winter Garden Theatre in New York” have been hit by local opposition.

The Extra Care Charitable Trust and developer Gallagher Elstow Ltd have submitted a planning application for the retirement village and village centre communal facility at land north of The Causeway, Wixams.

The facility would include 230 apartments as well as leisure amenities including a village hall, IT suite, gym, greenhouse, well-being facility and a cafe/bar,

But the plan has been met with opposition from the parish council, which has opposed the plan on the grounds of the size of the proposals and the lack of car parking.

Parish councillor Tony Hare said: “The whole building is massive. The area they are planning to build on is as big as the Winter Garden in New York, which is ridiculous

“It is a massive overdevelopment for that patch of land. It was always going to be used as a site for the retention of water for the new Wixams village.

“Just imagine what it will be like when the first houses are built. There will be no ground for it to seep into.

“If this goes ahead it will be one of the biggest buildings are Bedfordshire.”

But a spokesman for the charity said the size of the retirement village is in line with the rest of its centres across the UK. It has two in Milton Keynes and this will be its first in Bedfordshire.

They said: “It is an average size for our retirement villages.

“In term of the scale issue and why we build on that scale, if you build a significant number of homes you keep the costs low for residents.

“In terms of the size of the apartments each resident would have their own home, and they need to have a certain level of privacy behind their own front door.

“We also offer a number of leisure facilities in our villages and when you have 200/300 homes sometimes they are busy and sometimes they are not.

“But you need a certain volume of people to make these activities worthwhile.”

Lib Dem Borough Councillor for Elstow Tim Hill said: “I am relaxed at the prospect of an extra-care village in the small Wixams part of my ward.

“I have my concerns about the size of the development, but it is a much-needed facility in the south of the Borough and importantly for my ward, an extra care village on the site proposed will make it very difficult for any future planning application for the Elstow South waste management site to get planning permission.”