Plans to pull down the disused Hygrade factory in Chippenham and build retirement flats in its place are progressing, with builders McCarthy and Stone holding a consultation last week.

The flats will be varying in height, with the complex formed around one central three-storey unit with a communal area and terrace overlooking the river.

The planning application could be submitted as early as June and Alex Child, director of consultants The Planning Bureau, said the council is “on board” with the project.

“The retirement flats will occupy most of the space currently taken up by the factory,” said Mr Child.

“We have had some very positive feedback today from visitors, who believe it’s time that the factory is pulled down as it’s such an eyesore.”

A spokesman confirmed in November last year after months of speculation that planning permission would be sought to redevelop the former meat processing factory in Westmead Lane.

The eight-acre site, which has been marketed with a price of up to £1.5 million, has been empty since the firm moved out in 2007.

It is now widely considered to be dangerous, with police and firemen refusing to go into the building amid reports the electrical system has been exposed to water.

Mr Child admitted that more work still needs to be done on the possibility that the area could flood.

“We do need to consider flood alleviation and how that can be brought into the fabric of the building,” he said.

“It is adjacent to the river, and we have identified flood zones, as it is a high priority for us to ensure the flats are not affected by flooding.”

The plans, if successful, will provide jobs for around 20 people, with eight or nine required onsite at any time. There will be 60 apartments with communal facilities.

Mr Child said the site’s location was important to planners, adding that he is not concerned by the number of retirement flats already in Chippenham, including a £22million care village with space for 145 people being built at the site of the Chippenham Golf Course.

“These are self-contained apartments with their own kitchens, ideal for retaining independence,” he said.

“This site is close to the centre of the town – again in line with the concept of maintaining independence.

“We believe we offer something a bit different to other retirement homes, and feel very positive about bringing this to Chippenham, where there is a great demand.”

More information on the development is available at