New Care has resubmitted a previously 'refused' planning application for a 60-bed care facility in Wilmslow.
In light of the current coronavirus pandemic and the increasing demand on the NHS, New Care is now asking the Council to reconsider and to grant consent at the earliest possible opportunity rather than waiting months for the appeal process to run its course.
Altrincham based New Care Project are seeking permission for their revised plans to demolish two four bedroomed houses in large plots at 51 to 53 Handforth Road in Wilmslow and replace them with a 60 bedroom 3 storey care home.
The controversial plans were refused by the Northern Planning Committee for the second time in January 2020, after being deferred by them in December 2019 and are currently subject to an appeal.
The Planning Officer recommended the application for approval by the Northern Planning Committee, however members disagreed with his recommendation voting by 8 votes to 3 to refuse planning permission on the grounds that "the proposal would lead to the overdevelopment of the site due to its inappropriate scale, mass and bulk - detrimentally impacting the character and appearance of the area, and there are no material considerations deemed to outweigh that harm."
Cath Fairhurst, Chief Operating Officer at New Care, said "COVID-19 has put massive immediate pressure on the NHS, however the current situation has also highlighted the ongoing huge shortfall of beds in hospitals, many of which are in use by stable patients who have been medically discharged but require rehabilitation before returning home. There is quite simply nowhere for these patients to go, so they remain in hospital blocking beds.
"As a registered nurse and in all my years of experience working in the health sector, we are navigating our way through unprecedented times. A fresh approach to the provision of care facilities and beds is needed now more than ever before.
"We have just finished build on a 71 bed care facility in Bramhall which has immediately been contracted in its entirety by the NHS. This care facility will now be used to free up hospital beds at Stepping Hill Hospital by providing a care pathway for medically stabilised patients, who would otherwise stay in hospital for prolonged periods.
"The contract with the NHS will not only assist with the current crisis, but when Coronavirus is under control there will undoubtedly be a need for more care home beds to deal with the longer-term implications of the more vulnerable patients. Starting this week, Stepping Hill Hospital will facilitate the move of 71 patients, freeing up vital beds.
"It is in light of this and our continued commitment to working with and helping the NHS that we want to deliver our proposed care facility on Handforth Road as soon as possible, which will not only offer targeted residential, nursing and dementia care services for Wilmslow and the surrounding areas, but will no doubt also provide allocated beds to the NHS to use to ease pressure within local hospitals."
Councillor Toni Fox said "It is very disappointing that New Care is using the current crisis in a manner that could unnecessarily alarm residents. To offer some re-assurance to residents I spoke with a care home within my ward this morning and they are continuing to accept patients who have been discharged from hospital. Additionally, Cheshire East Councils Chief Executive and Executive Director of People are in discussions with the NHS to monitor, assess and assist with any potential additional requirements in the out of hospital service across the Borough."
New Care is now urging MP Esther McVey, who objected to this care facility, to visit Bramhall Manor and to support its planning application for Wilmslow.
The company contacted Ms McVey to see if she intended to support the application, but said her office wasn't available for a comment.
Esther McVey told wilmslow.co.uk "Working with local residents, my objections to building on this site have always focussed on the suitability of location and impact on the local community. I will be interested to see how this new application addresses those concerns."