HAGLEY residents have expressed their disappointment that plans to build 44 retirement apartments in a prominent part of the village have received the go-ahead.

Bromsgrove District Council recently gave developers, McCarthy & Stone permission transform the former Hagley Middle School site on Park Road, into residential properties for the over 60s.

However Councillor Steve Colella, chairman of Hagley Parish Council, believes the land, which was sold off by Worcester County Council, could have been put to better use.

He said: "Part of that land should have been transferred to Hagley Primary School - it is the largest in the county of Worcester, with more than 700 pupil, so needs some extra capacity for open space in my view."

Cllr Colella said the land could also been used for parking, to ease congestion on Park Road.

He added: "I thought the county council should have given that land over to some sort of community use. I'm very disappointed that they didn't think beyond the highest bidder."

Hagley resident, Peter Rowbottom agreed: "It is disappointing that the county council decided to sell this publicly-owned land to a developer when it could have been better utilised by the neighbouring ever-expanding Hagley Primary School.

"The apartments will tower over the primary school and anyone coming or going from or to the complex at school-run times will only add to the huge traffic congestion at those times."

A McCarthy & Stone spokesman said: "The proposal site has been vacant for 10 years, following the closure of Hagley Middle School in 2004. McCarthy & Stone’s proposal would beneficially redevelop this brownfield site, which is very close to the district centre, with much-needed, high-quality retirement living accommodation for older people. The permission would also deliver additional community benefits, including a new public footpath/cycle link and additional financial contributions towards other community facilities.

"Following feedback from the neighbouring residents, McCarthy & Stone significantly revised and improved its original plans, reducing the number of apartments from 56 to 44 and the proposal’s height from three and four storeys to three and two storeys. The car parking provision was also significantly increased from 31 spaces to 44 spaces.

"Retirement living schemes generate low levels of traffic which are not associated with peak travel times."

Work on the apartments, which will include a shared lounge, guest suite, laundry room and a lift, will begin in the summer.

A dedicated house manager will also be on site and residents will benefit from a security entrance system and 24-hour emergency call points.