CHIPPENHAM people are questioning whether more expensive homes for older people should be the priority in the town, after a firm announced plans to spend £40 million knocking down the old Wiltshire College building and replacing it with luxury retirement apartments.
At an opening meeting on Tuesday to show the plans for Cocklebury Road to local people, two elderly Monkton Park residents, who declined to give their names to the Gazette, said: "One bedroom would cost £300,00 and that is a lot of money. The average pensioner selling their house could not possibly get all that so where are they going to find the money for these apartments?
"It is well presented and all of our questions have been answered, so we cannot fault them on that."
New councillor Holly Bradfield who pledged to get more redevelopment in the town, said: "I think that the area around the railway station is a key part of the future of Chippenham.
"Any proposed development should reflect the needs of the community, both young and old. It is vital the residents of Chippenham have security in their retirement."
The 19-year-old, who represents the people of Hardens and England, does not think the scheme will affect council plans to make life better for the younger generation in the town, something she is committed to improving.
She said: "Chippenham Town Council aims to provide neighbourhood and community benefits for all and as the youngest Chippenham Town Councillor, I strive to put young people's views across to the council and ensure their voices are heard."
Hundreds of people young and old flocked to the current Chippenham College campus to see the multi-million pound plans, which include136 apartments, three duplexes, 106 parking spaces, shops and cafes, and have been drawn up by developer C2PD.
"We normally find that when we first open there is a flurry of activity and we are seeing that today," Andrea Kellegher, senior consultant at planning consultants Turley, said. "There are quite a lot of community benefits to this scheme and there will be jobs that come along with it.
"We will analyse people's feedback and give that to the project team who will work on getting the application in by the summer. Subject to planning consent, we would like to start in the autumn of this year with the opening at the end of 2019/2020."
A transport survey, which has already been carried out, showed building the homes could create a small increase of off-peak traffic.