A BID to build 40 flats on a controversial retirement development in Burnham has been given the green light by Maldon District Council.

Planners had recommended the proposals be approved ahead of a planning committee meeting on January 23.

The site is on land west of Maldon Road on the Burnham Waters development.

The designs show two blocks of flats as well as bike storage and a communal area.

Planning consultant Stewart Rowe, who was both agent and applicant, spoke in support of the bid at the planning committee meeting.

He said: “The application is being driven by a lack of interest in affordable housing or from any affordable housing association being willing to purchase the approved 50 independent living extra care units.

“These were approved in 2019 as part of the first phase of the Burnham Waters retirement community.

“During this section of phase one, the council encouraged the provision of independent extra care units.

“That was supported initially by Essex County Council.”

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Shops - Planned shopping area at Burnham WatersShops - Planned shopping area at Burnham Waters (Image: Burnham Waters)

Mr Rowe said while the county council withdrew its support, the district council maintained the type of units were appropriate and the application was approved.

He added: “In the intervening four and a half years, the affordable housing market has changed significantly.

“Both Burnham Waters - the applicant - and the council’s own housing department have approached all the housing associations on the council’s list and a number of others too.

“None are willing to take 50 retirement homes and none are willing to purchase any number of independent extra care units.

“There’s just no interest at all.”

He added: “Care home beds are less necessary in the district than self contained units with care provided.

“Chelmer Housing Partnerships have agreed to take 20 affordable partnerships, which we’re proposing as part of this application.”

Councillor Sue White said while she supports housing for older people, she believed the application was "the wrong housing in the wrong location".

She said: "We're talking about increasing old people's housing but as far as I'm aware, they haven't got a single house occupied in however many years the development's been there."