Committee go against officer's recommendation to refuse controversial plans for care home


Controversial plans to demolish two detached residential properties in Wilmslow and erect a care home have been refused by the Northern Planning Committee again today (Wednesday, 15th January).

Altrincham based New Care Project were 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 Planning Officer recommended the application for approval by the Northern Planning Committee, however committee members disagreed with his recommendation.

The application was deferred from the Northern Planning committee on 4th December 2019 requesting that the impact of glazed link to front elevation be reduced and additional information providing regarding to need for the development.

The Altrincham based company subsequently submitted further amended plans which the Planning Inspector said "has changed to a more traditional style and has responded to feedback by reducing the massing to the street scene elevations as highlighted by the previous Inspector and committee members. The link has been pushed back and the structure lightened to enable the North East elevational street scene to read as individual dwellings. Similarly the rear of the proposal has been broken down into forms that relate to the scale of the residential context. The refinement of the design enables the proposal to sit more comfortably within the street scene and the context of its surroundings."

The applicant also submitted a needs assessment, which indicated a need for 391 market standard bed spaces within the 3 mile sensitivity catchment area.

Speaking about the changes made to the frontage of development, Cllr Craig Browne said "I find it refreshing that the applicants have come back with answers to the reasons we set out for deferral at the last meeting, I think improvements have been made to the frontage and from Handforth Road. However, the thing we haven't; really discussed in detail is the fact that parking standards are not being met. We've heard from the Highways Officer that our standards would expect 34 spaces and the proposal in front of us is only suggesting a provision of 25.

"Now I accept that the previous planning inspector didn't list this as one of the reasons for their decision previously but as we know planning inspectors don't necessarily arrive at the same conclusions for the same reasons."

Adding "Personally I would have liked to have seen the lack of adherence to our parking standard as a further reason for refusal."

Members voted by 8 votes to 3 to refuse planning permission for the care home 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."

New Care Project initially submitted a planning application in March 2018 to demolish the two detached houses and replace them with an 83 bedroom. However, due to some objections from the local community a decision not forthcoming, New Care submitted an amended scheme for a 65 bedroom care home with a revised site entrance and 26 car parking spaces.

The second scheme was met with strong opposition with 84 letters of objection received and was refused by the Northern Planning Committee in April 2019. Members of the Northern Planning Committee unanimously agreed that it was an overdevelopment of the site, which resulted in a lack of car parking, an overbearing impact on neighbouring properties because of the bulk and massing as well as being out of character with the street scene.

New Care appealed against the decison to refuse the second scheme but this was dismissed due to the visual harm to the street scene and harm to the character and appearance of the area.

The application was then amended in the light of the Inspectors comments to comprise a 60 bed care home with 25 car parking spaces which was refused today (Wednesday, 15th January).

New Care, Planning Applications


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Pete Taylor
Wednesday 15th January 2020 at 4:40 pm
Good; keep knocking it back- not wanted here. Listen to the residents.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 15th January 2020 at 5:47 pm
I'm glad that it's been refused, but the applicant has the right to appeal. I will be very surprised if they don't appeal, so let's just wait and see what happens.
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 15th January 2020 at 6:27 pm
So it should be knocked back. You do not want a build up of traffic in this area. Build it somewhere on a main road where residents can look out of the window and see a bit of life.
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 15th January 2020 at 6:44 pm
I was at this meeting - we need to keep showing up in force and hitting every opportunity to comment with strong and well-argued objections. The planning committee and even the planning inspector were united over the idea that the scheme is overbearing and overdeveloped, and they added that the parking issues ( which have been judged as wanting) failed the councils own care home specific guidance. The bit that split the vote was whether the accommodation need is urgent enough to overcome those objections, which the majority of councillors felt was not the case. The figures come from the councils social care dept, estimating a ‘need’ for between 700-900, extrapolating from national guidelines and stats. This is where we need to concentrate our efforts; the developer did not produce a local needs assessment that takes into account the current oversupply in this corner of Cheshire east, and the likelihood that with a 3-5 mile catchment area, many of the potential residents might come from outside the council boundaries, representing an incremental health burden on local budgets and more pressure on existing GP practice (who have objected strongly in Principal to another care home within this area, regardless of exact location). I assume if they had a local needs assessment that supported their case they would have used that rather than rely on national figures, which are too broad brush to inflict lasting damage on an established residential neighbourhood ( and if permission is given to one three story overbearing overdevelopment on this road, it will ripple up the entire street). There was also a lot of debate about the insufficient public transport available ( who knew we should end up grateful for the reduced 130 bus service), which as several members pointed out, would mean no public transport at evenings, bank holidays and weekends, when most visiting will occur. Planning officer attempted to address this by adding a condition for the developer to provide a ‘travel plan for staff’ which further questions revealed was probably unenforceable after home is built and meanwhile we were left with the opinion that parking problems would be fixed by the same magical thinking apparent in other council decisions - bike schemes, walking and car-sharing will become the order of the day as people willingly rush to ditch those nasty( but so convenient) cars
Bill Bennett
Wednesday 15th January 2020 at 8:52 pm
I was also at the meeting and while I am delighted that that planning permission for this massive development was refused. One thing I was astonished at was the fact that the applicant was allowed to submit a needs assessment as to the need for further nursing home beds, which could hardly be described as being impartial. The applicants report stated there was a large shortfall of nursing home places. Ten minutes on Google, would have, at best cast doubts, on the accuracy of the report. Virtually every nursing home in a fifteen mile radius has vacancies. Their websites say they have one or two spaces, they are unlikely to say they have 5/6 spaces, as that would not encourage new residents. In the past week, we have had two leaflets through the door, advertising vacancies in nursing homes. Furthermore, nursing homes in the area have been closing.

One statement from Councillor Lesley Smetham left everyone at the meeting looking at each other in amazement, when she asked the Chairman, am I correct in saying, that nobody has a right to a view from their home. I wonder if she would be keen to have her view blocked by a three storey commercial building. Perhaps she may be correct, but we are entitled to peaceful enjoyment of our homes, under the European Convention of Human Rights and its fairly clear a commercial business running 365/52/24, in any residential area, would contravene that right.

I have one additional area of concern on cost. How much have these repeated applications cost Council Tax payers in East Cheshire, particularly, when services are being closed, as Council funds are stretched to the limit.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 15th January 2020 at 9:56 pm
Looking at Cllr Smeatham's address in Gawsworth (listed on the CEC website) from an aerial photograph it appears to have fields to the front and rear for some considerable distance. Presumably the other Councillors who voted in favour also live nowhere near the site in question?
Lynne Prescott
Thursday 16th January 2020 at 11:14 am
I am sure Councillor Smeatham would be very happy to have a 3 story 24 hour commercial property up against her boundary - we should suggest it to the developers as an alternative site!
Adeeba Minhas
Thursday 16th January 2020 at 6:31 pm
This planning committee comprises a bunch of incompetent unprofessional councillors. They keep moving goal posts in relation to this application. The reasons for refusal appear to be political expediency rather than on merit. The application has been sucessively improved to the point where all technical concerns have been addressed by the applicant. The reasons given for this latest refusal have been dealt with previously. The immediate surroundings of this area would be improved by this development with better security, road appearance etc
Nimbyism at its worst.
Geoff Ferguson
Friday 17th January 2020 at 3:21 pm
Adeeba Minhas

Well that's a different point of view to all those who actually live in the area.

Just wondering who you work for and do you know Jon Williams ?
Phil York
Friday 17th January 2020 at 4:25 pm
I find the developer and his apparent cronies almost comical exacerbation at the planning refusal totally insulting.
The multiple reapplicants, appeals and redesigns claiming to meet the committees previous refusal and highlighted concerns fails entirely to recognise the underlying objection.

That this development is proposed for a road that is populated entirely of detached domestic dwellings built almost 90 years ago.
Nowhere along that road is suitable for this insult of a planning submission.

Manuel Golding
Friday 17th January 2020 at 5:19 pm
Adeeba Minhas comments are quite extraordinary especially where she castigates Councillors for expressing their sincere reservations supporting the very real concerns of the neighbourhood againdst the arrogance
about both the applicant applicant & its

Adeeba Minhas
Lynne Prescott
Friday 17th January 2020 at 5:37 pm
Adeeba Minhas - you obviously disagree, but as you appear not to be a regular visitor of this site, you may not have picked up that, although we may vent our frustrations at times, we try NOT to be as personally insulting as your comments towards individuals.

Would LOVE to know how you came up with the idea that a 24 hour commercial facility which even the planning inspector described as an overbearing overdevelopment would improve both security and appearance of the area - please feel free to give us more details to explain your thinking!

As for your comments on moving goalposts, political expediency etc etc- the full 150 minute discussion was recorded and is apparently available on the council website, so perhaps listen to the detailed discussion on there before making a final judgement? I do not have the patience torefute your comments point by point and I believe people learn best through actual experience anyway. Have fun!
Sarah Jones
Monday 20th January 2020 at 8:28 pm
Nice to know that anyone who has a different opinion than most ’nimbyists’ posting here are shot down with emotional irrational thoughts.

Most people either support this application or are neutral, but a few vocal people force or ram their views on the majority and unduly influence local councillors.

Fact, is most of the people who oppose this would oppose anything just for the sake of not wanting change. This is a brownfield site, there have been overbearing developments on green field sites in the vicinity which have worst impact. The immediate vicinty of this site has antisocial behaviour and flytipping emanating from the neighbouring estate. The proposed development would have a positive impact economically and aesthetically.

So, lets all keep calm and keep things in perspective. I’m fairly sure that at some point in the not too distant future, we will all either need a nursing home or will know someone who will!
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at 10:53 pm
#Sarah Jones

I was just wondering what the evidence base is for your statement:

"Most people either support this application or are neutral, but a few vocal people force or ram their views on the majority and unduly influence local councillors."

There have been three separate applications for a care home, and all correspondence relating to each can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council Planning portal.

I have looked at all three applications and can find objections from over 100 residential addresses in Wilmslow. There is absolutely no supporting letter or comment from any address at all in Wilmslow, or in fact anywhere else.

Again I was just wondering what the evidence base is for your second statement:

"Fact, is most of the people who oppose this would oppose anything just for the sake of not wanting change."

You are quite entitled to have an opinion and to share it, but please don't make sweeping statements such as, "Most people" and "fact", when there is no evidence in the public domain that can be used to support them.

Please make your evidence available for public scrutiny. If it demonstrates that your statements are based on actual hard evidence and are not just your own personal opinions, then I will be quite happy to recant this comment and issue an apology.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at 11:15 pm
#Adeeba Minhas

Yours is quite an unusual name, just like mine is. If you type mine into google you’ll find that there’s apparently only one Stuart Redgard with a digital footprint that google can find in the UK.

You’ll find quite a few links that give information about me. All of which are factually accurate but don’t tell the full story about me.

A google search of your name has identified three people with the same name.

I was just wondering if you were one of them?

Possibly Adeeba JAMIL-MINHAS.

And if so, are you in any way related to the owner of 51 Handforth Road, Akheel Mohammed Jamil (as stated on the planning application form)

Or is this just an unfortunate coincidence?
Alan Brough
Thursday 23rd January 2020 at 10:43 am
Perhaps if Adeeba Minhas or Sarah Jones read this interview with Chris McGoff, the CEO of New Care, they would better understand the very obvious concerns that local residents have in relation to this development.

Mr McGoff's background is in building and development and by his own admission he only got into the Care Home sector as he sees it as a Trojan Horse with which to circumvent problematic Planning decisions.
Stuart Redgard
Thursday 23rd January 2020 at 1:15 pm
I'd like to issue a correction to my earlier post to Sarah Jones.

The number of Wilmslow addresses should have said "at least 80" and not "over 100" the exact number cannot be determined as not every comment includes a full address,

There are also occasions where there is more than just one objection from the same address. I assume this is where there is more than one occupant at these addresses who wishes to object.
Elizabeth Mooney
Saturday 25th January 2020 at 8:10 pm
Well done at last CEC planning and all the neighbours and folk who opposed this monstrosity. The young developer comes across as a bit of a spiv and the 2 ladies on here who voiced their frustration and accuse residents of Nimbyism are most probably connected with the project. Provision for the elderly (in terms of Care Home beds) is extremely well catered for in this locale. For years we have seen developers ride roughshod over concerned residents all in pursuit of "coin". I hope this is the beginning of a "get tough" on thoughtless and careless Developers by CEC