Retirement home plan for Wickham laboratories building

PLANS The proposed development for the former Wickham Labs
PLANS The proposed development for the former Wickham Labs
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THE site of a controversial animal testing laboratory could soon become a retirement home.

Developer McCarthy & Stone wants to turn the former Wickham Labs building on Winchester Road in Wickham into 32 one and two-bedroom apartments.

The development plans come after Wickham Labs started moving operations to the former Wyeth site in Barwell Lane, Gosport, last May,.

It has nearly completed moving the work once carried out at Wickham to the new location, which it now calls Hoeford Point.

The labs at Wickham attracted regular protests from animal rights protesters, including an annual demonstration each September which would draw around 100 activists.

Wickham parish council chairwoman Cllr Angela Clear said people were in favour of the development.

‘We have had issues with demonstrations there on a regular basis in the past, which we won’t be having any more,’ she said.

‘All I’ve heard so far from the residents about these proposals are good things, they seem to be behind it.

‘I would imagine there will be access issues though, as that’s a very busy road, and it can be difficult to get in and out.

‘What we want is a high quality design that’s sympathetic to the Wickham conservation area.

‘McCarthy & Stone has gone about everything in a very professional manner so far, and from what I have seen of their other homes, they are of a high quality.’

The company says in promotional material that it aims to transform the appearance of the existing site with a sensitive development, which will feature a traditional design sympathetic to the character of the conservation area.

McCarthy & Stone will be holding a public exhibition to show off its plans and give people the chance to have their say about them on May 17 at Wickham Community Centre from 3pm to 7pm.

A spokesman for the developer said: ‘McCarthy & Stone is committed to engaging with the community regarding this proposal.

‘The aim of the exhibition is to provide details about the scheme to the community whilst members of the project team will be on hand to answer any questions.

‘The exhibition also provides McCarthy & Stone with the opportunity to receive your feedback which, where possible, will be fed into the final plans prior to submission.’

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