PLANS for almost 90 new retirement homes have sparked claims that hospitals could struggle to cope with the rising number of elderly people living in the district.

A consultation has been launched about ambitious proposals for almost 90 retirement apartments on a disused boatyard site.

Developers McLaren Group launched the consultation about building on the former Petticrows Boatyard at The Quay, Burnham, at the weekend.

The land has been vacant for more than a year since Petticrows moved from the site to its new boatyard in Marsh Road.

The development, which will have 98 beds for people aged 55 and over, will also contain a host of shops and services.

The Standard has seen a letter from McLaren to residents surrounding the site about the “specialist care” the development will offer to residents.

The letter says: “There is a significant and growing proportion of the community that are over 55 years old.

“Consequently, there is a local need for new accommodation for older people who may require higher levels of care and support.

“We intend to meet this identified local need for extra care housing.”

A public consultation was held at the boatyard last Saturday where for the first time the public were able to see more of the plans.

The consultation has come quickly after a retirement complex of almost 240 homes off Maldon Road, in Burnham, was given the green light by council planners.

The hugely controversial plans proved unpopular with some Burnham residents.

District councillor Neil Pudney raised concerns the plans would not provide any opportunity for younger people to buy homes in Burnham, and it would put more strain on hospitals and GPs.

He said: “I am very concerned with the amount of development like this that is happening.

“It is very concerning for Broomfield Hospital and it is not as if Maldon Hospital could cope.

“We would have to build another hospital to deal with the amount of elderly residents in the area.”

But McLaren said: “Our plan is to provide a development of 86 self-contained new apartments, with additional amenities for both those living within the development and those within the local community, which will include on-site specialist care facilities.

“These on-site facilities will help to relieve the burden on the NHS and the social care system, which will alleviate pressure on hospital beds.”

To find out more about the site, go to