DEMOLISHING the old police station to make way for a leafy retirement community has been given the thumbs up in Thornbury.

Around 50 residents attended an exhibition at the Cossham Hall highlighting plans to build 36 sheltered flats where the station currently stands on Market Street, with a majority praising the "attractive" development.

If approved by planning bosses, the housing community proposed by Churchill Retirement Living could open its doors as early as 2015.

Many in attendance gathered around the mock-ups of the buildings displayed at the hall, commenting on their "smart" and "lovely" design.

Jerry Dicker, a Thornbury resident and former Crossways Junior School teacher, told the Gazette: "I think it’s a great idea. It’s a good use of the site. There will a use for it in the town. I am sure there will be plenty of applicants.

"It seems like a pretty good scheme. It looks very nice."

The sheltered housing complex would include 36 flats, a communal lounge and library, a guest suite for overnight visitors, mobilty scooter storage and a car park. A 24-hour careline system would also be available to residents.

Charles Eardley-Wilmot, of Lower Morton, said he was very pleased with Churchill Retirement Living's proposal. "It think it will fit in very well," he said. " Churchill are very good developers. It’s just a question of how much they cost and the management fees."

Another visitor, who asked not to be named, said: "I think it looks fine. It’s better to do that than put standard flats in the town. There is definitely a need for it in the town."

The pleasant appearance of the development certainly softened the blow of losing the police station.

Town Cllr Clive Parkinson said: "The development certainly looks more attractive than the existing building and if we have to lose the police station then it’s probably an appropriate use for this land near the town centre."

The positive feedback was a boost to the scheme, according to Andrew Burgess, managing director of Planning Issues, the developer’s consultants.

"We’ve been very pleased with the turnout," he said. "It’s particularly encouraging."

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