The existing planning permission for 150 houses (including re-use of existing buildings) and employment land is apparently not economically viable. Unexpected costs include connection to mains sewage, higher than expected refurbishment costs to existing buildings - and the Borough Council is asking for a higher proportion of affordable housing.
- Of course the Hospital has a private sewage network which might cope with 200 houses - but EP are thinking ahead to Stage 2 of the development which will add a further 250 houses.
- It's a shame too that the NHS Trust has been so strapped for cash over the last ten years or so that they haven't been able to afford even minumum maintenance on the empty buildng - so they've gone to wrack and ruin. A classic case of pennywise, poundfoolish - as in so much of government these days.
- And - emerging Council policy on affordable housing requires 50% of new housing developments to be affordable - so there's some interesting horse-trading to come.
- This will apparently involve widening the junction, putting in a righthand filter and possibly a min-roundabout. It isn't clear yet whether they intend taking a bite out of Tommy's Field, the Easter Field or the garden at the end of Thorp Avenue (or all three).
- It's not clear too that NCC Highways are taking into account traffic flows from whatever development appears on the site of the Mount retirement home - currently being marketed for NCC by DTZ
The second stage development of 250 houses, a small retail centre and employment provision is planned for the site of the remaining hospital buildings, but this depends on the Northern Link Road (from A1 across Fulbeck and Bluebell Woods to Whorral Bank) being built.
- The road is currently earmarked in a regional funding programme - likely to come forward in the next five years or so. But private sector funding is also required - which would come from this Stage 2 development. And - although NCC have plans for the road - they have not yet even applied for planning permission.
- They have shown a willingness to consult - I hope this extends through the pre-application and application process into the preparation of the Development Brief.
- They say that they have no intention of building on the open land (cricket field, common, race course) in either Stage 1 or Stage 2 (and that will probably take us through to about 2015).