Thursday, 24 May 2018

Plans for huge new care village

THE owners of the Thamesfield nursing home in Henley are planning to open a 172-bed retirement

THE owners of the Thamesfield nursing home in Henley are planning to open a 172-bed retirement village in Shiplake.

Retirement Villages Group, of Surrey, is to seek planning permission to develop a field off the A4155 Reading Road, opposite the entrance to the Haileywood Farm industrial estate.

It wants to build a 40-bed, two-storey care home, three blocks of “extra care” flats and 10 blocks of terraced or semi-detached “extra care” bungalows.

The home, which would be at the south-east corner of the site, would have two wings for people needing different levels of care, a clubhouse with communal leisure facilities and a secure garden. The blocks of flats would be either two or three storeys with a total of 42 two-bedroom units, which would be sold or rented to people with care needs but who still want to live independently.

The bungalows would have two bedrooms and would be arranged around courtyards and built “in keeping with the local aesthetic”.

The site, which measures about 2.5 hectares, is currently screened from view by trees and hedges and would require a new entrance off the main road.

Retirement Villages Group already operates 14 similar sites across the South and says its business model “allows residents to own their own property in a retirement village, keeping an investment in the residential property market while having access to care and support”.

The company is seeking residents’ comments on its plans and has circulated a leaflet around the Shiplake.

Shiplake Parish Council has asked to be given a detailed presentation on the plans before it decides on what stance to take.

This is the latest is a series of care home applications in the Henley area.

Unlike with regular housing, developers don’t have to make payments towards community infrastructure.

Plans by McCathy & Stone for 53 “extra care” flats at the former Jet garage in Reading Road, Henley, have already been approved.

An application for an 80-bed care home at the nearby LA Fitness site in Newtown Road is awaiting a decision.

B&M Care, which owns the former Henley Youth Centre site in Deanfield Avenue, is expected to seek permission for a 60-bed home.

These are in addition to the relocation of the Chilterns End care home, off Greys Road, to a new 64-bed unit at the Townlands Hospital site later this year.

Critics say this new home, which will be run the Orders of St John Trust, will be enough to meet local demand.

Meanwhile, an outline planning application has been submitted to redevelop Mount Ida, a private residence also off Reading Road, Shiplake.

Sarah Melton, from Newbury, wants to demolish the four-bedroom house and build seven detached house in its place.

Three would have three bedrooms and the remainder would have four or five and each one would have parking space or two cars. Access would be via the existing entrance.

Ms Melton’s agent Ressance, of Newbury, says the development would improve views along the road and that the district council’s planning officers’ advise that the density and layout are acceptable.

Ressance says: “The proposal will make a positive contribution to the area by providing high quality and well-designed family homes on previously developed land.”

The site is opposite Thames Farm, a 5.6-hectare field which was recently the subject of an outline planning application for 95 homes.

District councillors rejected the application, against their planning officers’ advice, but landowner Claire Engbers intends to appeal.

A separate appeal over a previously rejected application for 110 homes on the land is to be heard in November.

Both Mount Ida and Thames Farm were submitted for inclusion in the Henley and Harpsden joint neighbourhood plan in 2013 but rejected as other sites proved more popular at public consultation.

The district council is accepting comments on Retirement Villages’ plans and aims to make a decision by October 27.

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