PLANS to build retirement living apartments for elderly people on the site of Abergavenny’s police station and former magistrates’ court are expected to be approved.

Retirement housebuilder McCarthy & Stone are behind the plans to demolish the former magistrates' court and current police station in Tudor Street and build 47 new apartments in its place.

Officers have recommended the planning application is approved subject to a section 106 agreement when the plans come before Monmouthshire County Council's planning committee next Tuesday.

The proposals include 23 one-bedroom and 24 two-bedroom apartments, with 39 car parking spaces and five cycle spaces.

But Abergavenny Town Council raised concerns over the designs of the apartments.

In its consultation reply it said the site provided an opportunity to enhance the place and character "with a more innovative design that makes better use of the site."

It added: "Due to the change in levels on the site, the current scheme would result in the ground floor properties in the north side being partly below ground level which the town council consider to be poor design resulting in poor quality accommodation.

"More specifically the colour of the window detail and balcony detail is too dark and drab and the colour of the brick is also too dark."

However a number of the concerns raised have since been addressed in revised plans, in particular the worries about the dark appearance of the plans, according to the application report prepared ahead of next week's planning meeting.

Two letters of objection were submitted, expressing concerns the designs were "out of keeping" with the rural area and claiming the development threatens to "ghettoise the elderly and isolate them from the mixed-age population."

But six letters of support for the application were also submitted.

They said the development is a "one-time opportunity" to get rid of one of the 'ugliest' buildings and provide the opportunity for older people to live in a convenient area with pleasant surroundings.

A design and access statement says the accommodation will provide independent, purpose built apartments to people aged 60 and over.

Residents will be able to maintain independence by using shared facilities and with a house manager.

A planning statement says the accommodation will allow residents to remain in their own home "as frailty increases through later life."

"This is a very specialised form of accommodation that is currently limited within Abergavenny," it adds.

The application was recommended for approval, subject to a 106 agreement with an offsite contribution of £232,506 towards affordable housing in the area.

Meanwhile Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert, said progress is being made over relocating police from the Tudor Street site.

He said: "Although we do not yet currently have a confirmed location, we are in very advanced discussions with Monmouthshire County Council regarding a new joint facility."