Retirement flats plan for professional centre

PLANS to demolish the Mid Sussex Area Professional Centre in Horsham and build 48 retirement flats are before councillors on Tuesday.

Two schemes for apartments with communal facilities, landscaping, 20 car park spaces and a new access from Clarence Road are due to go before Horsham District Council’s development management committee.

One has 32 one bed and 16 two bed flats and no glazed link and the other features 35 one bed and 13 two bed apartments and a glazed link.

Both are recommended for approval by officers subject to the completion of a legal agreement.

The flats would be in a U-shaped building around an internal courtyard three storeys at Clarence Road and reducing in height to two storeys and one storey at the north eastern end of the site.

One scheme has the frontage broken up by recessed brick built stairwells and the other glazed links between the main building blocks.

The West Sussex County Council building was originally built as a school.

It is used as offices and an adult education centre.

Forest Neighbourhood Council said if the application was agreed it wanted McCarthy and Stone to extend the bus stop in Brighton Road and provide a shelter and bench.

“ We consider that a bus route to Henfield and Brighton directly outside the development will be a selling point for this type of housing and for this reason feel that it is not unrealistic for McCarthy and Stone to provide and pay for the improved facilities,” members said.

Two letters of objection and two letters of support were received by the council.

Objections were on the grounds of there being no affordable housing on site, overlooking, density, highway access and parking, loss of general amenity, overdevelopment, privacy, light and noise.

Officers said the applicant initially made an offer of £312,030 towards provision of affordable housing within the district.

However the council felt an appropriate sum to provide off site affordable housing provision associated with the development would be about £500,000.

Negotiations led to an affordable housing contribution of £523,400 for the first scheme, with a further £76,600 to cover infrastructure requirements.

A figure of £370,000 for infrastructure and affordable housing contributions has been put forward by the applicant for the second scheme as the mix of accommodation was different and they state the revenue would be less.

Officers said this is lower than would be expected and would need to be assessed for the scheme to be agreed.