March 12 at 22:00
A decision on whether to approve planning on a block of flats purpose-built for deaf people has been postponed by city planners. Plans to demolish a fitness centre and build a set of 10 self-contained flats for the Plymouth Deaf Association were due to be approved at the council planning committee meeting on March 9. However planning officers recommended deferral instead after new objections from neighbours and concerns from the Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA) arose. According to a report issued to the committee meeting: "A neighbour had raised objections that the parking arrangements be amended to provide an improved turning area for vehicles and also provide an additional two visitor parking spaces. "The applicants consider this will reduce concerns over congestion in Mannamead Avenue and they are now drawing up detailed plans." The LLFA also raised concerns over drainage and has asked the applicant to provide further drainage details which they have agreed to. The proposed development would lie within the former grounds of the listed Blake Lodge - a centre by the Plymouth Deaf Association. Agents for the development highlighted a need in the original application for accommodation close to the centre facilities. Revenue from the flats would, in turn, be used to improve Blake Lodge.
The unique flats have been designed by Plymouth-based firm Crayon Architects to cater uniquely for deaf people. The housing would feature assistive technologies, light-based alarms, unobstructed sight lines, flooring wired for vibration alerts, smart house technologies, and smart TVs with video calling capacity. Likely criteria for qualification to rent a flat would likely include being aged 55 years and over, being severely or profoundly deaf, preferably using British Sign Language as a first language, residing within Devon and Cornwall, and not requiring comprehensive nursing care. The application will be looked at again by planners at the next meeting in April.