Mansfield District Council is set to move forward with plans to build 54 homes for elderly people on the site of the former general hospital in the town.
The executive mayor of the council, Kate Allsop, made a delegated decision to develop the site and at the same time, recommended to full council to approve a budget of £8.6m for the scheme. This figure is due to be finally approved on December 1 when the council meets.
A planning application for the scheme has already been submitted and is due to be considered by the Planning Committee in early February 2016.
She said: “This is going to bring a much needed housing for this age group in the town and if some of the tenants are downsizing, it could help release larger homes for families which are also very much in demand.
“We could have just sold the site for someone else to develop but we felt that it was important to offer more affordable housing in the district and developing the site ourselves is the best way to achieve this.”
Work on the site is due to begin in the summer of 2016 and take up to 18 months to complete. The council will maintain ownership and management of the properties built and they will be let through its Homefinder service.
The scheme will bring back into use a plot of land which has been unused for at least 20 years and, along with the Poppy Fields extra care scheme, will be one of the most significant social housing projects in Mansfield in recent years.
It has been driven by a growing aging population which is increasing demand for this kind of housing. The estimated population number for over 65s in 2020 is estimated to be 21,600, an increase of 20 per cent on the 2011 Census number.
It is also expected that providing more homes for this age group will free up under-occupied council homes for larger households. Council figures show that of the 476 existing social tenants, 134 are under occupying their homes.
In her decision Mayor Allsop rejected an alternative option to sell the site to a developer in favour of the council developing the site itself. The reason for this was because selling the site would not guarantee the delivery of new housing and was unlikely to deliver the same amount of affordable housing.
The scheme for the former hospital site has been designed by the council’s in-house architects. It will be a gated scheme and provide 12 two-bedroom bungalows and 42 apartments, 34 with two bedrooms and eight with one bedroom.
The properties will be located around the outside of the site with a “village green” in the middle and incorporate outdoor fitness equipment and raised allotments to promote health and well-being.
Rent for these homes would be set at 80per cent of a market rent which has been calculated at £450 per calendar month for the bungalows, £370 pcm for the one-bedroom apartments and £415 pcm for the two-bedroom apartments.
The homes will accommodate older people with general needs, support needs and possibly care needs. In return for a financial contribution towards the scheme, Nottinghamshire County Council has expressed an interest in securing nomination rights for ten of the homes. This is being considered, in principle, by the council’s Adult Social Care and Health Committee on 30 November.