Council gives green light to 100-bed care home and five houses nearby to offset ‘significant development costs’
PUBLISHED: 10:37 28 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:20 29 June 2020
Wisbech businessman James Punton was told that it was “most regrettable” that he cleared a local orchard prior to submitting proposals for a 100-bed care home and five houses.
The comment was offered by a planning officer from Fenland District Council summarising all aspects of the application prior to recommending its approval.
The planning committee voted unanimously to allow the development in Magazine Lane, Wisbech, that includes five luxury homes.
“It is most regrettable that the site was cleared prior to the submission of this proposal.,” councillors were told.
The officer felt conditions contained in an ecology report “will ensure that the scheme delivers appropriate mitigation and enhancements in this respect going forward”.
The planning committee agreed that the care home was needed and the location was acceptable.
Planners agreed that the application is ahead of a broad concept plan for the area but would provide “housing opportunities and job creation” that carried considerable weight in determining it
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Planners said that neighbours had raised concerns about the change of character to the area and potential lack of amenities.
However, they felt that whilst the outlook and character of the area may change as a result of the proposal “such change is not considered so significant as to render the scheme unacceptable”.
The committee was told that the five homes proposed for the site were needed to part fund “the significant development costs of the care home and to ease cash flow in the early stages of development”.
Tim Slater of 3D Planning drew up the design and access report for councillors to consider.
He argued that there was “a clear demographic need for significant additional care home facilities in Fenland and in Wisbech.”. His research showed a nominal need for around 1,400 new care home spaces up to 2026 with the number of people aged 65+ rising thereafter.
“This proposal is a significant development that can accommodate some of the unmet need- clearly there will need to be additional provision within the emerging local plan or through independent planning applications,” he said. The home would ultimately provide up to 50 full time equivalent staff.
“The location of the site within the built form of Wisbech- so close to the town centre means that the site is convenient and accessible for staff to be drawn from within Wisbech,” he said. “It can be accessed by a convenient and sustainable way by car, cycle or foot.
“There is a bus route passed the Barton Road entrance to the site and whilst this will offer the opportunity for some staff and visitors to travel by bus at sometimes it is accepted that this is not frequent enough to be a viable service for all staff and shifts.”
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