‘It’s a chance to tidy up a bit of a mess’

New homes proposed for High Street, Berkhamsted.
New homes proposed for High Street, Berkhamsted.

A plan has been unveiled to build 48 flats for the elderly in the centre of Berkhamsted.

The one and two-bedroom homes would be exclusively for the over-60s, and there would be just 17 car parking spaces for the people living at the High Street site.

The homes would replace a dry cleaners, children’s nursery, car servicing workshop, car wash and house whose owners have agreed to sell their properties to developer Churchill Retirement Living.

Planning director Andrew Burgess said: “We are going to regenerate and tidy up the whole appearance of the area with a high-quality building. It is a bit of a mess there at the moment.”

He defended parking provision at the site, near Stag Lane, by saying that the firm’s average buyer is a 78-year-old widow who has no car.

There will also be no affordable housing under the plans, which have just been submitted to Dacorum Borough Council.

Mr Burgess said: “It is not appropriate to provide affordable housing within a retirement development.

“If appropriate and based on a viability assessment it is justified, we will make a payment to the council in lieu of this.”

A two-hour public exhibition of the plans was staged at the Northchurch Social Centre in November, but just 13 people signed an attendance register. Only six gave written comments about what they thought of the scheme.

Churchill Retirement Living says it had written to 665 people who live nearby about its plans and the public exhibition.

Mr Burgess said: “A low turnout often means that the public have no problems with the proposal.”

The proposals will be discussed by Berkhamsted Town Council on Monday, July 15, before Dacorum Borough Council decides whether permission should be granted.