OAPs fear kids running wild

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.

Angry elderly residents staged a protest over plans to build three homes within their retirement park.

The owners of the Bel Aire Park site on Middleton Road, Heysham, want to build the homes in place of a bungalow currently occupied by the site operator and dilapidated outbuildings.

A Lancaster City Council planning report says that although there is no planning condition governing ownership of the 65 park homes, the site owners had chosen to impose an age restriction.

It says that applicant Shadrach Nelson had indicated that the new two-bed homes would be made available to rent for £435 a month.

Residents say they were not informed about the application and fear the affordable rent will encourage young families to move into the new houses, which would be accessed through the park.

They say noise children could shatter the site’s tranquility and have penned 44 letters urging the councill’s planning committee to reject the scheme at its meeting on Monday, March 4.

Residents claim the access through the site will increase traffic and noise, as well as placing strain on the sewage and water system.

They have also raised fears over a loss of parking, although the council says changes to the scheme mean there will now be an extra space for the wider park site, as well as parking for the new homes.

Meg Kirkham, 69, who has lived at the park for eight years, said: “This is virtually a retirement site with a lifestyle of peace and quiet.There are no children running around or teenagers on motorbikes, or anything like that.

“We have ladies here who are in their nineties and who came here to make it their last home - it is like God’s waiting room.

“There are a lot of very upset elderly people here because of this, they are really heartbroken.”

The park owners declined to comment, but the council report says they have reduced the number of new homes planned and introduced hipped roofs to reduce the impact on neighbours.

The report recommends approval of the plans despite “concerns about compatibility” between the occupants of the new homes and existing park residents.

It said that the lack of a planning condition governing owernship and the fact highways authority Lancashire County Council had raised no objection meant that officers “reluctantly felt that a refusal would be difficult to substantiate.”