Retirement apartments scheme could expand but also create more gardens

A revamped scheme for retirement apartments in a backwater on the edge of Barnsley town centre have been submitted to council planners with the intention of providing additional homes and extra garden space on the site.

In autumn of last year, specialist developers McCarthy and Stone were granted permission to replace a 1930s office building at Berneslai Close, off Churchfields, with a new apartment block and to convert an Edwardian building – part of the old Beckett hospital – to accommodate more.

When planning permission was granted there were concerns about the amount of garden space available, with a stipulation council officers would be given the powers to negotiate a better arrangement.

However, a fresh application has now been submitted, which creates more garden area, retains the same number of car parking spaces but also provides for five more units.

Three of those would be created by forming a new lower ground floor to the proposed new block, with an additional flat on the ground floor and another to be included as part of the redesign of the Edwardian building.

Council officers believe the scheme would be acceptable and are recommending councillors approve the changes, when they are considered at a meeting on Tuesday, March 19.

A report from planning officials states: “The proposed building would be slightly higher than previously approved to accommodate the additional lower ground floor but would still be lower than the existing 1930s block to the front elevation.

“The addition of a part lower ground floor would not raise the building a full floor height however, due to variations in gradient of the site which alters the extent of uplift but from the front this would be approximately 1.5m higher than was previously presented to members.

“The revised elevations of the building would be the same height, or lower, than the existing building, although there are additional windows to the east elevation to serve the three new apartments in the new lower ground floor.”

Under planning rules, developers have to either provide open space on site or provide cash towards the council doing so elsewhere.

With the proposed changes, the total contribution to that fund would be almost £45,000.