PLANS to turn the site of a former homeless hostel into 20 apartments for people aged over 55 have been given the green light.

Cheshire West and Chester Council yesterday approved a planning application for the affordable housing development at the vacant Richmond Court site in Boughton.

Sanctuary Group submitted their proposal to build 11 two-bedroom and nine one-bedroom apartments, as well as providing parking, amenity space, new planting and landscaping, back in July last year.

The site formerly operated as a sheltered housing scheme before being used by the charity 'Chester Aid to the Homeless'.

Five objections to the proposal were received from the public raising a number of issues including noise from building work, loss of privacy, increase in traffic and visual impact of the new building on the area.

Chester and District Standard:

However, in a report recommending the application is approved subject to conditions, the council's case officer Jo Redmond states: "The council’s highways officer has not raised any objections relating to this proposal and considered that the level of traffic generated by the proposal would not have significant impact on the operation of the local road network.

"Concerns have been raised regarding noise and impacts of the proposal on residential amenity. In particular noise was raised as a concern in relation to the construction period and potential noise from future occupiers due to the presence of balconies on the rear of the development.

"The environmental protection officer has not raised any objections subject to the imposition of a number of conditions.

"The concerns about balconies and associated noise emanating from these has been given consideration but given the separation distances it is not considered that this would lead to unacceptable harm to neighbour amenity.

"Concern has also been raised about detrimental impacts on residential amenity by virtue of overlooking, loss of privacy and overbearing.

"The building is approximately 2.38m higher (to the ridge) than the existing building it replaces and does align closer to the canal than the existing building.

"However, there are adequate separation distances between the neighbouring properties and the proposed apartment building, especially having regard to the intervening canal feature and the road that separates dwellings on both sides of the canal.

"The design of the proposal has been amended slightly to reduce the thickness of the framing of the gables to refine the design of the proposal.

"It is considered that due regard has been given to the surrounding development and this is reflected in the design solution for the site including incorporation of gables with lower ridge heights to reduce their impacts. The design is considered to be in keeping with the character of the area."

A contribution of £27,500 from the applicant which will go towards delivering open space improvements has been agreed with the council.