NIGHTMARE: 80 new homes plan in Upton criticised
This is what the scheme in Moreton Road, Upton, Wirral, might look like, Image: Housing 21
Residents in Upton say traffic near their homes will become a “nightmare” if a plan for 80 homes is passed.
This type of home allows older people to continue living independently, with on-site care available to support their needs.
The apartment block will be a three/four storey building, and will be made up of 55 one-bedroom apartments and 25 two-bedroom apartments.
To fund the scheme, Housing 21 will receive a £3.6m grant from Wirral Council and will apply for a Homes England grant. The project will also be supported through rental income.
Several people emailed the LDRS to express their concerns about the project and an LDRS post on the Facebook page Upton Matters, asking residents for their views on the development, attracted well over 100 comments with many people deeply worried about the impact the homes could have on the area.
Although Housing 21, a not-for-profit housing association, did not want to respond to public comments outside of the official planning process, James Hogarth, the company’s property development manager, said the scheme would be “a valuable resource for both the residents and the wider community at large”.
Wirral Council’s analysis says that to increase choice and reduce reliance on residential care, it is currently estimated that the borough needs another 725 units of extra care and sheltered housing by 2026.
But concerns about the project remain. One resident’s email read: “The route serves two primary [schools] and a junior school, so many children use it. The footway is not wide enough to allow two pushchairs to pass, let alone mobility scooters and older people who may be unsteady on their feet.
“They will be taking their life in their hands if they happen to meet someone else coming in the opposite direction. It is already common for people to have to step out into the main road to pass each other – highly dangerous.”
Posting on Upton Matters, one person said: “I think it [the application] is awful, the village is congested enough without this adding to it.
“School opening/closing times are a nightmare, so potentially it could get worse with carers/staff/family visits.”
Another member of the group, said: “Seems a shame to knock them lovely big houses down, bit of a daft place to put it as well with the traffic down that road with the schools there, the place is needed [but there are] better places in the area to put it though.”
However, not everyone is against the proposal.
On Wirral Council’s planning portal, there were 62 comments in support of the plan and 61 against at the time of writing.
Some of the respondents to the LDRS’ Facebook post were also in support of the proposal.
One person said: “Hopefully more of us are living longer, so naturally more suitable accommodation is required. This ‘not in my back yard’ attitude really does annoy me. [It’s] a great idea to have this development here.”
A fellow member of the group had a message for those who were against the plan.
It read: “Reading through all these comments, I just hope that those opposed never need or have a family member who needs additional help to live independently and freely.
“Yes, peak time and school time traffic is an issue, but this is the case everywhere as we are in a day and age that God forbid children/teenagers use their legs and walk.
“Maybe this is now the prime time to try to come up with some sort of solution to school parking and traffic.”
Housing 21 said the plan would help to address the shortage of specialist housing for people over the age of 55.
They added that the proposed scheme is specifically designed for older people, allowing residents to live independently whilst at the same time having access to on-site care and support if required.
Mr Hogarth said: “We are excited to put forward proposals to develop this high-quality extra care scheme in Upton.
“Extra care living offers older people the opportunity to live independently in their own homes, while having access to on-site care if and when needed. The site on Moreton Road is well-placed to serve the people of Upton and beyond.
“We look forward to working with the council, adhering to our robust audit and planning processes, to deliver what we know will be a valuable resource for both the residents and the wider community at large.”
A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: “Extra care housing is designed to enable people to remain independent for as long as possible. It can offer many different levels of support which can be altered as their needs change.
“The council’s social care and housing teams have been working with a number of experienced local providers of extra care on delivering more of this type of specialist housing in Wirral which is in demand in the borough.
“The council is working to support local providers of extra care housing and a funding agreement in place with the provider in this case will ensure not only that the scheme is developed as agreed, if approved by planners, but also that those people most in need are first in line to benefit from this scheme.
“As always with any development, it is subject to obtaining the necessary planning consent which is independently considered by the Planning Committee.”
Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter
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