Monday, 23 July 2018

Care home rebuild refused

REVIVED plans to demolish most of a Victorian care home in Whitchurch have failed.

REVIVED plans to demolish most of a Victorian care home in Whitchurch have failed.

Last year Majesticare was refused planning permission to knock down all but the front facade of Eastfield House and build a 50-bed complex in its place.

It appealed against South Oxfordshire District Council’s decision, saying the home in Eastfield Lane was unfit for purpose because of poor disabled access.

Now inspector Robert Jackson has backed the planning authority, saying the building is an important part of Whitchurch’s conservation area.

He said: “However good the replacement, there would be a near total loss of historic fabric and a loss of the patina of age. This would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area and reduce its significance.”

Opponents including neighbours, Whitchurch Parish Council and Henley MP John Howell feared the scheme would increase traffic and worsen flooding problems.

Majesticare first submitted plans to extend Eastfield House from 27 to 47 beds in 2010. These were refused and then dismissed on appeal.

The company then asked permission for a 45-bed extension, which was granted on appeal in 2013.

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

Majesticare says Eastfield House, which is not listed, has been “haphazardly” upgraded since the Eighties and much of the interior has been altered.

It says only the front of the building is historically significant so it should be acceptable to tear down the remainder.

Mr Jackson permitted Majesticare to demolish two new buildings on the site, saying this would improve the area’s character.

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