Boost for local economy as dairy site sold for retirement homes

    Dairy Crest Site

    The UK’s largest developer of retirement homes has bought the former Dairy Crest Depot on St John’s Road in a move likely to put an extra £8million into the local economy.

    McCarthy & Stone purchased the plot for an undisclosed sum from Ashill earlier in the year after the developers were granted planning permission for 58 residential apartments in December.

    As the changes proposed by McCarthy & Stone will require the existing application to be revised, a pre-application community consultation programme has begun.

    However, a spokesman for the company said current plans would be used as a ‘starting point’ for any future development which is expected to be delivered within 12 to 15 months of an application being submitted.

    The scheme will put around £8million into the local economy, according to figures produced by the Institute of Public Care.

    More than 50 jobs are expected to be created during construction and up to 18 once operational, with the individual accommodation units being put up for private sale.

    The spokesman added: “We are looking to improve on the existing planning permission, providing this much-needed accommodation.”

    While the properties available are age-restricted for the over-70s, the average age of residents occupying this type of home is 83.

    Cllr David Scott, who represents St John’s ward, where the site is located, said: “It is an interesting development and I do feel it will meet a definitive need for that type of housing in Tunbridge Wells.

    “I suspect it will also mean less cars than a conventional development, which is a good thing, while the residents will provide a boost for local shops and businesses.”