Sunday, 29 November 2020

Plans for care home rejected

A BID to build a new 70-room care home in Hare Hatch has been turned down.

A BID to build a new 70-room care home in Hare Hatch has been turned down.

Woolf Bond Planning applied to Wokingham Borough Council in May to demolish the existing former Mabey headquarters in Floral Mile, Bath Road and redevelop the site.

However, following an objection from Wargrave Parish Council, the borough council rejected the plans, stating that the development was too big for the green belt.

Clare Lawrence, head of development management, said: “The proposed development would, by virtue of its proposed footprint, scale, and general massing, comprise an unacceptable form of development which is considered inappropriate development within the green belt.

“In this case the special circumstances contended by the applicant does not outweigh the harm to the green belt and countryside to allow an exception to be made.”

She added that the development would be “intrusive” on the local landscape and that it contravenes their core strategy by being isolated from nearby villages without public transport links.

Wargrave council chairman Richard Bush said: “We were very concerned about both the impact on the green belt and the access on to the A4.

“We also felt it was a bit of a shame to demolish the existing building, but the councillors that went to the site said that only the facade of the building is appealing and the other buildings behind that are just sheds.

“We facilitated an open session for the whole community in the council buildings and sent several councillors to the site but after our discussion we agreed to object.”

The proposed care home, which would have specialised in sufferers of dementia, was to be run by Castleoak Care Developments and could have created almost 100 new jobs.

The two-storey building would have covered an area of 3,628sqm with 20-room wings, a communal area, kitchen, café and administration areas.

The plans also included parking for cars and bicycles, a refuse store and landscaped grounds, and would have involved demolishing the existing buildings.

Following a public consultation in Wargrave, the application was submitted earlier this year on behalf of Castleoak Care Developments, who have built more than 150 care homes across the country.

The application said: “The proposed scheme has evolved to take full account of its setting and visual impact and the high quality of the local area.

“The home will provide an important amenity for the local community, generating new job opportunities and replacing the existing commercial operation with a use more compatible with the site’s green belt location.”

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