Sunday, 18 August 2019

Derelict care home can now be sold for housing

Derelict care home can now be sold for housing

A DERELICT care home in Henley could finally be sold and replaced with regular housing.

The Oxfordshire Care Partnership has agreed to surrender its leasehold on the former Chilterns End complex off Greys Road to Oxfordshire County Council, which owns the building, at the end of September.

The partnership, a joint venture between the Orders of St John Care Trust and social housing provider BPHA, had a lease until 2027 at the earliest but was expected to terminate this after the home shut in 2016.

This would have allowed the site to be developed for 27 homes including up to 11 “affordable” units, for which it was earmarked in Henley and Harpsden’s joint neighbourhood plan. But instead the two parties became mired in negotiations, which caused concern for Henley town councillors who said the land was needed to meet the town’s future housing needs.

The situation remained uncertain because the talks involved commercially sensitive information so neither side would comment or explain how things were progressing.

However, this week Henley’s county councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said they had finally reached an agreement. Once the partnership has moved off, he will urge the county council to open the land for development as soon as possible.

Cllr Gawrysiak, who also serves at town and district level, said: “I’ve been pushing for this for the past two years and had countless meetings, emails and telephone calls about it. We’re drafting a revised neighbourhood plan and this is a chance to possibly include more one- and two-bedroom homes for social rental.”

A county council spokesman said it was still proposing the site for 27 homes although it could also take 60 assisted living flats for the elderly with 10 smaller ordinary homes.

The care partnership now runs the 64-bed Chilterns Court care centre next to Townlands Hospital, off York Road, which was built as part of a £10 million redevelopment of the site.

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