Green Close retirement apartment scheme a 'golden opportunity' to improve Sidford road safety

PUBLISHED: 06:32 22 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:04 22 February 2016

Churchill Retirement Living's early concept drawings of its plans to redevelop Green Close

Churchill Retirement Living's early concept drawings of its plans to redevelop Green Close

Archant

A retirement firm has revealed its vision to replace a closed Sidford care home with 36 apartments for the over-60s.

Churchill Retirement Living's early concept drawings of its plans to redevelop Green CloseChurchill Retirement Living's early concept drawings of its plans to redevelop Green Close

Churchill Retirement Living bosses this week said the properties will meet existing and future need, and committed to invest in local services.

Devon’s highways chief, Councillor Stuart Hughes, has reacted by saying the development provides a ‘golden opportunity’ to make nearby Sidford Cross safer for pedestrians – an issuewhich Devon County Council (DCC) is under pressure to address.

Andrew Burgess, the family-run firm’s planning director, said: “We believe our proposals for this site will significantly enhance the local area and provide much-needed specialist housing for older people. Not only do our developments offer security, peace of mind and independence for residents, they in turn free up larger, family homes for local people. If the development goes ahead, investment will also be made by Churchill Retirement Living towards local services and facilities such as public open spaces and to offsite affordable housing.”

Twenty-three-bed Green Close closed in 2014 due to a DCC funding cut.

Churchill plans to replace it with approximately 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments, exclusively for over-60s. The proposals also feature landscaped gardens, a communal owners’ lounge, a lodge manager’s office and a guest suite.

Cllr Hughes, who represents the DCC Sidmouth/Sidford division, said: “If Churchill is going to produce that many apartments, there’s going to be a lot more people using the facilities. There’s a golden opportunity to look at options to provide pedestrian areas around the [Sidford Cross] junction and improve quality of life – not just for residents of the retirement homes but for all the village.”

He said revised sequencing on the junction’s lights may delay traffic, but pedestrian safety should be prioritised.

Cllr Hughes had previously said residents may have to wait for work to begin on a potential 12-acre business park outside the village before the concerns can be addressed.

He added that, if DCC officers convince Churchill of the need, Sidford Cross could be made safer, sooner.

Campaigner Peter Morling - who has described the four-way intersection as ‘a fatal accident waiting to happen’ - said: “I can’t help but feel it’s one or two years down the road.

“Before this time some poor kid or elderly person is going to get injured – the junction is that dangerous.”

Residents can view and comment on Churchill’s plans at a public exhibition in St Peter’s Church Hall from 5pm to 7pm on Monday, February 29.

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