Plans to build a retirement village featuring a 50-bed care home and 60 assisted-living apartments have been approved by the council.

The development, which is proposed for greenfield land off Elker Lane in Billington, was approved by Ribble Valley Borough Council's planning committee last week.

The plans propose a central H-shaped ‘village core’ which would include a library, lounge, meeting rooms, shop and hairdresser, a cafe, fitness suite and pool.

Fifteen other blocks on the land would have six, four or two self-contained apartments.

The decision to give the proposals - by Nelson-based Elker Developments Ltd - the green light was granted as long as the developers adhere to a number of conditions set out by the council.

The conditions include but are not limited to:

  • The landscaping proposals shall be implemented in the first planting season following first occupation or use of the development...and shall be maintained thereafter for a period of not less than 10 years, to include the replacement of any tree or shrub which is removed, or a species of similar size to those originally planted. All trees/hedgerow shown as being retained within the approved details shall be retained
  • Ensure that adequate parking provision is retained on site to accommodate the quantum of development proposed
  • The development shall be carried out in accordance with the principles set out within the submitted flood risk assessment and outline drainage strategy, to ensure satisfactory sustainable drainage facilities are provided to serve the site
  • No development shall commence until a final, detailed surface water sustainable drainage scheme has been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the local planning authority
  • No development shall commence until details of how surface water and pollution prevention will be managed during each construction phase have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority

An outline plan by Elker Developments was submitted earlier this year but amendments were made in terms of design, size and layout of the proposed care village, gardens and car parking, in a second draft adding more details including drawings, by Avalon Town Planning.

There is already a housing scheme for people aged over 55 in Elker Meadows, run by Mosscare St Vincents, with residents there unhappy at the prospect of a larger development dominating their landscape and ruining the relative tranquility of the area, prompting many to object to the council.

Several other objections had also been made about the proposals from Billington and Langho Parish Council, St Augustine's RC High School, and 11 individual households, which included issues surrounding traffic, congestion, parking and access to the nearby school.

Concerns over flooding were also raised, with one objection stating: "Concreting over a large area of green belt land that is already designated as a flood plain can only make things worse.

"Our development has already suffered some flooding issues."

While another objection stated: "Elker Lane is a busy road especially with being so close to the school.

"The doctors practice in Whalley is already full, and trying to get an appointment is hard work - how will they cope with so many more elderly people?"

A report to the planning committee stated: "In respect of matters relating to residential amenity, and likely impacts upon amenity resultant from the proposed development, given the significant separation distances between the proposed built form and nearby residential receptors, it is not considered the proposal will have any undue impact upon existing or future residential amenity."