PLANNING permission has been granted for 44 retirement apartments to be built on the site of a former Timperley church.

Churchill Retirement Living originally submitted an application to build 50 one and two bedroom apartments on the site of the former St John the Baptist Church, on Thorley Lane, in December 2013.

However, planning chiefs rejected the scheme following concerns about the ‘design and massing’ of the development.

But, Churchill resubmitted an application in April this year, which received unanimous approval at a Trafford Council planning committee meeting on June 5.

The revised plans include an adapted façade so the development appears to be three linked buildings, increased separation distances from neighbouring properties and boundaries and a reduction from 50 apartments to 44.

Andrew Burgess, Churchill’s planning director, said: “Churchill Retirement Living has listened to local people and has shown a true commitment to providing a development which is of the highest quality for such a sensitive location.

“I am very pleased that councillors and local people supported our latest planning application so that we can start construction soon and bring much needed housing for older people to Timperley.”

Churchill first agreed to buy St John the Baptist and its land in 2011, as the church had stood empty since 2009 following the parish’s amalgamation with the neighbouring St Hugh of Lincoln.

But shortly after the agreement was reached, the church was spot-listed by English Heritage, holding up the planning process and incurring considerable maintenance costs for the church.

However, the listed status was removed in April 2013 and the church was demolished.

Timperley ward councillor and leader of Trafford Liberal Democrats, Cllr Ray Bowker, said: "I was extremely disappointed when it was announced that St.

"John the Baptist Church was to be closed because it was a lovely building and an attractive feature in the Village Ward, at one time well attended by local Catholic residents.

"A couple of years have elapsed during which time, for whatever reason it became a listed building then following strong opposition it was de-listed and demolished.

"This left a derelict open space which has long awaited a development proposal.

"The first submission, by Churchill for a development of 50 retirement living apartments was deemed over-sized by the planning committee, mainly because of the huge mass on the street scene, it would certainly have been out of character in the area.

"The new, approved, planning application reduced in size to 44 apartments is much more suitable in size, tastefully designed with a few extra car-parking spaces and now far more w acceptable within the street scene. 

"There is also an increased separation distance from neighbouring properties and boundaries.  The building will be reduced from three storeys to two and a half storeys and two storey end units.

"Overall this approved application will be far more acceptable to surrounding residents and will transform this unsightly, derelict site to provide more residential homes in the community."