Monday, 06 April 2020

Care home extension plan revived

OPPOSITION is mounting to plans to extend a derelict care home in Whitchurch.

About 20 villagers as well as the parish council have objected to Majesticare’s bid to renew its planning permission to redevelop Eastfield House, off Eastfield Lane.

The company, also known as Ross Healthcare, was granted consent in 2013 but did not start work and instead pursued a series of unsuccessful applications to demolish most or all of the Victorian property and erect a purpose-built care home in its place.

After its last failed appeal in October, when a planning inspector said the scheme would harm the area’s character, Majesticare is falling back on its original proposal.

It wants to demolish two dilapidated extensions at the back of the building and construct a modern wing in their place which would increase the total number of beds from 27 to 45.

This plan was opposed by the parish council and South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, refused consent but that decision was overturned on appeal.

The parish council still maintains the extension would be too bulky and unneighbourly and would generate excess traffic on Eastfield Lane, the main access to the village primary school. It says the lane is prone to flooding and an influx of new residents would exacerbate this.

Neighbour Neil Huntington said: “The large-scale proposal does not sit happily on the site... due to the impact it will undoubtedly have on adjoining properties and the village as a whole.”

Opponent Wanda Higley said: “I remember this grand old house and find this proposal unacceptable.

“I would like to know if the applicant has been to the village and seen the gridlocked high street... I would like to see Eastfield House returned to its former glory and become a central part of the village again.”

Majesticare says the care home, which shut in 2016, had become unviable.

The district council is due to make a decision by April 2.

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