Friday, 22 September 2017

Mystery surrounds future of care home

CONCERNS have been raised over the future of the Eastfield House care home in Whitchurch.

Majesticare, which owns the centre in Eastfield Lane, moved all its residents to other homes a year ago and shut it for a refurbishment which was expected to finish next spring.

Following a lengthy planning battle, the company is undertaking a £3million rear extension which was given the green light on appeal in 2013. This will increase the number of beds from 27 to 45.

The company had subsequently sought permission to demolish the entire building and erect a 50-bed complex in its place but gave this up after two failed applications.

Workmen boarded up the windows and fenced off the site last August but since then villagers say no work has been carried out. The parish council asked Majesticare for an update last month but is yet to receive a response.

Councillor Jim Donahue, the vice-chairman, said: “A lot of people are concerned because nothing seems to be happening. The site is becoming derelict and the grass is overgrowing so it almost looks like it’s been abandoned.

“No work has been seen going on for some time but unfortunately we’re in the dark. We’ve asked the district council to look into it but it isn’t within their remit. Now that Majesticare has planning permission, the ball is in their court.

“We’re quite surprised at this because you’d imagine it would be in Majesticare’s interests to get it done as soon as possible and get revenue coming in again. People are starting to worry that nothing will ever be done, though of course that’s only speculation.

“It would be helpful if we could have some clarity on the situation.”

The extension, which the parish council and a number of residents opposed, will involve demolishing the Victorian building’s rear wing and replacing it with another in red brick and Bath stone.

When it submitted its application, Majesticare said the home no longer met modern standards as it has poor disabled access and some rooms didn’t have en-suite bathrooms.

The company did not respond to requests for comment.

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