A GREEN Party activist is leading the charge for affordable living for all as details of a retirement complex emerge.

Dave Plummer upped his campaign for low-cost accommodation in Waltham Abbey after McCarthy and Stone announced plans for a large build on Tesco car park in Sewardstone Road.

Ahead of requesting planning permission from Epping Forest District Council, the development company outlined proposals for an independent living complex for OAPs designed to cater for the demands of an ageing population.

At a second public exhibition on Friday, January 26, it was revealed the build would include 24 one-bed and 28 two-bed apartments, 32 parking spaces, communal facilities and space for mobility scooter storage.

An unimpressed Cllr Plummer thinks the scheme misses the point.

He said: “People on low wages don't need retirement homes - they need one and two bedroom flats at social rents. Many are living in their parents' homes, exacerbating the problem of larger homes being tied up.

“As an example of the effect of low wages, of the three largest supermarkets in Waltham Abbey - Tesco, Lidl and the Coop - only Lidl has committed to paying the living wage.

“The difference between what low paid people can pay in rent and what they have to pay in rent is made up by the taxpayer.

“More social housing would reduce that deficit and enable younger working people and families to leave their parents' homes and start building their independent lives.”

Waltham Abbey already has a number of specialist retirement developments, including a 28 flat complex in Broomstick Hall Road and a 51 flat complex in Farm Hill Road.

There are also more than 1,500 applications on the district council’s housing register, with 700 having waited more than five years for a place to become free.

Ann Marston echoed the arguments of Cllr Plummer, adding: “To be honest there are too many retirement apartments here, the trouble is that so called affordable is anything but.

“Nobody would really want to sell a nice house to live in an overpriced shoe box in Tesco’s car park.”

A McCarthy and Stone spokesperson insisted the need for retirement accommodation in Waltham Abbey was clear.

They said: “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.”

To view the proposals, click here.