Joy for OAPs at homes verdict

Residents of Bel Air Park Homes, Heysham protesting against plans for affordable housing.
Residents of Bel Air Park Homes, Heysham protesting against plans for affordable housing.

Elderly residents say they are “elated” after councillors rejected plans to build three homes within their retirement park.

The owners of the Bel Aire Park site on Middleton Road, Heysham, wanted to build the homes in place of an unoccupied bungalow and dilapidated outbuildings.

Applicant Shadrach Nelson had indicated that the new two-bed homes would be made available to rent for £435 a month, but residents said they feared the affordable rent would encourage young families to move into the new houses, which would be accessed through the park.

Lancaster City Council planning officers had recommended approval of the plans and their report said that although the site owners had chosen to impose an age restriction, limiting ownership of the park homes to older people, that was not governed by a planning condition.

But the council’s planning committee refused the application on an 8-2 vote, having heard from both a representative on the site owner and six residents.

The residents, who were supported by Overton ward councillor Keith Sowden, raised concerns that noisy children could ruin their peaceful lifestyle, if there was no age restriction on leasing the new homes.

They also claimed the access through the site would increase traffic and noise, as well as placing strain on the sewage system. After the meeting, Meg Kirkham, 69, said: “We are elated that our concerns were listened to.

“These councillors may not have BA degrees but they have got common sense and I think they could sense that this was just not practical and would not work.

“We would like to thank them very much for that.”

It remains unclear whether Mr Nelson will appeal against the decision, but Mrs Kirkham stressed that residents would be prepared to fight again if need be.

She added “We’re not unreasonable and we would be prepared to discuss a compromise if occupancy of these homes was to be restricted to our age group.”