Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Another refusal for care home expansion plan

PLANS to demolish most of a Victorian care home in Whitchurch have been turned down.

PLANS to demolish most of a Victorian care home in Whitchurch have been turned down.

Majesticare has been refused permission to knock down all but the front facade of Eastfield House and build a purpose—built 50—bedroom complex in its place.

The operator applied in May, saying the home in Eastfield Lane no longer met modern care standards as it was hard for people with limited mobility to access.

It said the new three—storey facility would have en—suite bathrooms and would be big enough to meet the needs of a growing elderly population.

It intended to keep part of the southern elevation around the main entrance and first—floor windows but remove the pitched roof, three brick chimneys and a single—storey wing to the west of the building.



It said it would re—use some of the materials in the new extension, which was to be built in red brick.

But South Oxfordshire District Council said the building made a “positive contribution” to the village’s conservation area and was of “high architectural quality”.

It said the demolition “would cause almost total loss of the historic fabric of this important non—designated heritage asset”.

It said it would “fail to preserve or enhance” the character of the area, causing “substantial harm”, and would have “no substantial public benefits”.

Majesticare’s scheme was opposed by the parish council and more than 30 residents including several in Eastfield Lane.

Councillor Keith Brooks, the parish council’s chairman, said the refusal was “very good news”.

He added: “We’re very pleased that the district council listened to us and took our comments into account.”

Majesticare first submitted plans to extend Eastfield House from 27 to 47 beds in 2010.

These were refused then dismissed on appeal a year later on the grounds that it would overshadow neighbouring properties.

It then asked permission for a 45—bed extension, which the district council also turned down. However, this was granted on appeal in 2013.

An inspector said the principle of development was acceptable and agreed the facilities needed updating.

However, in December last year Majesticare submitted a third application to knock the entire building down and put up a three—storey, 50—bed facility in its place.

The district council refused this a month later amid protest from residents and Henley MP John Howell.

Majesticare did not respond to requests for comment.



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