by Pat Franklin

A PROPERTY firm plans to replace four detached houses in Fleet with 37 flats and 12 parking spaces.

McCarthy & Stone is currently in the process of buying the houses at nos. 46-52 Clarence Road, on the edge of the town centre, and plans to knock them down and build 36 flats for the elderly, with one more flat for a warden.

The plans have gone in to be considered by Hart Council and are available for inspection

The houses all have large gardens at the back and the flats will extend over most of these, with parking for 12 cars along the side.

Paul Davis, a spokesman for McCarthy and Stone, said that the houses which would be knocked down were ordinary, between-the-wars properties of no great architectural merit and that the residents were collectively wanting to sell.

He said normal practice was to provide one parking space per three flats because many of the residents would have given up driving. "This formula works at most developments and as residents mature, more give up their cars."

He added that there was a great demand for sheltered housing in Fleet and it would be a secure place to live, with CCTV and personal alarm systems in each flat. Meanwhile one Clarence Road resident is upset by the plan. Mrs Rachel Robertson wrote to the Star last week to complain that the "beautiful character homes" would be lost.