A RETIREMENT complex could be a built on a town centre car park in proposals the Green Party believes ignore the urgent need for more social housing.

Between 10am and 5pm today (Friday) McCarthy & Stone developers are holding primary meetings at Waltham Abbey Community Centre to discuss plans to convert the Sewardstone Road, Waltham Abbey Tesco car park into specialist flats.

The land is currently used by Avis car hire.

Although the plans are in their infancy and a broader public exhibition scheduled for the end of January, Dave Plummer, the Green Party's Waltham Abbey Town Coordinator, has argued the land would be better used as a site for social housing.

He said: “With over 1,500 applications on the District Council's housing register, over 700 applicants waiting five years for a one bedroom flat and only 300 new council homes proposed over the next ten years it's clear that we need more social housing before retirement homes.

"We don't feel that the proposal will address this existing, urgent need.

“More social housing could save taxpayers money too by reducing rents and, as a result, reducing the amount of housing support needed to top up low wages.

“We also have concerns over Waltham Abbey's infrastructure, with our overstretched GP surgeries and lamentable public transport provision being two major issues which affect older people locally.”

Early next week Waltham Abbey residents will be invited to a public exhibition to be held on January 26, between 3pm and 7pm at the community centre on Crooked Mile.

A spokesperson for McCarthy and Stone said: “This is a great opportunity to obtain early feedback on our scheme, so we can ensure it will complement the character of Waltham Abbey.

“Our proposals will deliver a high-quality, attractive development that makes good use of an under utilised car park, whilst diversifying local housing choice in the area.

“It is estimated that the number of over 65’s in Epping Forest will increase by approximately 20 per cent from 25,400 to 30,500 between 2015 and 2025, highlighting that there is a real need for this kind of specialist retirement housing.

“Members of our project team will be on hand at the public exhibition to answer questions and listen to feedback.

“The proposals are at a very early stage and where possible we will amend our plans to reflect people’s comments.”

To find out more go to mccarthyandstoneconsultation.co.uk/walthamabbey/