Former court building could be demolished for retirement flats
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A former magistrates' court which closed more than 20 years ago could be given a fresh lease of life as a "high quality" block of retirement apartments.
Churchill Retirement Living is looking to build its second apartment complex in Camps Road, Haverhill, having already opened the adjacent Weaver's Lodge in recent years.
The firm has applied to West Suffolk Council seeking permission to change the use of Haverhill Magistrates' Court, which was among a swathe of courts across the country which closed in 1998.
The property, which was previously used as a police station and council offices, has been noted for attracting anti-social behaviour over the years.
Churchill Retirement Living has outlined proposals to demolish the building to make way for 34 apartments for over-55s and three cottages to the north of the site.
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In planning documents, Churchill Retirement Living said many residents were "supporting the principle of retirement housing on the site" during a public consultation on the project held in January last year.
Churchill Retirement Living said the development represents the opportunity to create a building of "distinctive design which establishes a strong sense of place and responds to the local character".
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The firm said the proposals for the court had been "specifically designed" to meet the needs of independent older people.
The planning documents added: "Our vision is to create a high quality development that responds to the local vernacular, embraces sustainable design, provides a safe and enjoyable environment for people to live in and enhances and respects the setting of the site within Haverhill.
"The site is in a highly sustainable location within Haverhill.
"The site offers opportunities for the future residents to walk into the high street, accessing a range of services and facilities as well as being in close proximity to a number of bus stops."
David Roach, Suffolk county councillor for Haverhill East and Kedington, said he was aware of historic anti-social behaviour at the site.
He said: "I know there has been some anti-social behaviour in the past, but not for some time.
"This application has been a long time coming. The court was supposed to be developed when Churchill moved in on the other side.
"It's something in the plan."