Refused planning application for care home resubmitted amid coronavirus crisis

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 "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."

New Care, Planning Applications


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

Alan Butler
Friday 3rd April 2020 at 4:15 pm
Would this development be completed in time for it be be any use to the NHS during the current COVID-19 crisis, or is this an attempt to exploit that crisis in the developer's long-term interests ?
Pete Taylor
Friday 3rd April 2020 at 8:34 pm
Jean Berman
Saturday 4th April 2020 at 9:21 am
Oh no this is awful
Chris Neill
Saturday 4th April 2020 at 9:57 am
I hope the decision makers don't fall for this trick, not just now, but when the next "appeal" goes before them. To use the crisis as an attempt to overturn a planning refusal is a very low thing to do. It's a business , so it will do what it can to expand and use any tactic to further its growth.
It's been refused and is an overdevelopment, detrimental to the area, so take your expansion plans somewhere else , not here.
Roger Bagguley
Saturday 4th April 2020 at 5:52 pm
Remember the response of the CEO following the refusal. Should we be surprised? Could just take longer to get this back to the Northern Planning Board than to appeal. But we know nothing!
Adeeba Minhas
Saturday 4th April 2020 at 8:28 pm
Esther, Nothing wrong with the location and impact on local community would be positive. Cllr Toni Fox is a well known anti development campaigner and as such her views are not objective nor do they represent everyone’s views except a vocal few nimbyists.
The northern planning committee are hiding behind a non issue and their arguments are not sustainable in a court of law. The plans have been revised to address all major concerns but the committee is irrational in its behaviour by refusing it twice. They might as well sack the planners and make their own decisions. Good Luck to New Care I say.
Pete Taylor
Sunday 5th April 2020 at 7:24 pm
Shameless, response.
Chris McGoff
Monday 6th April 2020 at 1:12 pm
We are not taking advantage of the current crisis, the application is currently ‘live’ in the planning appeal system. Having worked closely with the Council and NHS in Stockport for the last few months, they have highlighted to us the acute need to free up hospital beds and this has motivated us to try and expediate matters to assist with meeting that demand.

The proposed care home, which is on a brownfield site (which Councillor Toni Fox actively encourages), has already been rigorously assessed and recommended for approval by the officers at Cheshire East LPA on two separate occasions. It will help saves lives by freeing up hospital beds, not just during the current crisis, but afterwards, leaving a legacy safety net for the future.

In January the Knutsford Guardian reported that hospital admissions for people with dementia was up by 44% in Cheshire East, with The Alzheimer’s Society highlighting the strain this puts on the NHS and estimating a total spend for the NHS of £280million. Our care home would help address this.
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 8th April 2020 at 7:32 pm
Chris mcGoff, nobody is stopping you building a care home to fulfil the need you outline ( however privately sceptical I am about your argument and your motives) all you need to do is pick a more appropriate site- this little residential plot cannot possibly be the only land available in this part of Cheshire east!! If you really want to help the community as you claim, pick an uncontested site and build there. I promise you it will be quicker, because your current plan has been and will continue to be rejected as even the planning inspector you appealed to agreed it was entirely inappropriate for the site. And we the residents of Cheshire East are sick of being bullied by arrogant and often barely competent developers whose cynical playbook is to keep aggressively appealing in the hope you will wear the council down. Not this time. We are wise to your strategy and up for the fight. You had your best shot to prove an overwhelming need that outweighed all the planning guidelines and reasons for rejection , and you didn’t, because you couldn’t. Instead you are putting up a smokescreen that this is all about sight lines and landscaping as if we are just NIMBYs instead off going and finding an alternative site which has none of the identified issues that have already, frequently and in great detail been pointed out by residents, healthcare providers and councillors

And Adeeba Minhas, no one ever hears from you on this site except for on this topic and I think we have established that you have an interest in one of the properties, so you stand to benefit materially from this project ( and won’t be living with the impact of unsuitable development) I understand you may be upset at the loss of windfall profit, but that does not excuse your extremely rude and highly derogatory comments towards the councillors we elected to serve the interests of the residents, and who are doing a much better job of it than the previous incumbents. I think we can live without your ranting
Fred Rayers
Thursday 9th April 2020 at 3:44 pm
If Cllr Toni Fox's views only represent "a vocal few nimbyists." how did she get elected?
Lynne Prescott
Thursday 9th April 2020 at 4:36 pm
Fred Payers - and indeed re-elected!
Geoff Ferguson
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 7:23 am
I note that an appeal against this decision has been submitted to the Secretary of State and any comments should be made to the planning inspectorate
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 7:34 am
Another desperate attempt to slip this one through.
Bill Bennett
Thursday 11th June 2020 at 12:23 pm
As stated above, New Care have decided to appeal the planning decision to reject permission for the above nursing home. I have given the reference below, should you wish to read the appeal or make a submission objecting to the Nursing Home appeal.
Lynne Prescott
Thursday 11th June 2020 at 12:35 pm
Yes, They are back again - as per the CEO's comments in the interview he made to Nursing Home monthly or whatever it was, his MO is to be aggressive in the appeals process, hoping to wear the council and residents down. I know we're all sick to death of this zombie-project, but we do still have to keep objecting rather than assuming that the weight of past objectives and decisions will come into play. Would that we could count on the Planning Officer involved to tell New Care 'you have tried 4 times and received cogent and upheld objections and rejection each time, so I can no longer support your proposal and in fact will consider you a vexatious litigator if you waste any more of our time'. But we know that he appears not to have read his own councils guidelines, or sought to communicate the actual cause of objections raised by residents and the Planning Inspector ( hint: its not the appearance of the building, it's the nature and location, neither of which can be changed by 'glass corridors', 'enhanced landscaping' or whatever footling amends the architects have made this time). Remember: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair
Alan Heasman
Saturday 13th June 2020 at 9:38 am
Re-submissions and appeals from this developer - New Care Projects are becoming increasingly tiresome when they consistently fail to recognise the reasons for prior applications having been substantially defeated and the views of the many parties opposed to the development:- i.e.
Cheshire East County Council
Wilmslow Town Council
Local residents
Our local member of Parliament
Handforth Health Centre

This proposed development has already been refused many times by the Northern Planning Committee and the Planning Inspectorate due to overdevelopment of the site by reason of its scale, mass and bulk, which in turn, would detrimentally impact the character and appearance of the area. Material considerations were not deemed sufficient to outweigh the harm. The proposal therefore failed to adhere with policies SD2 and SE1 of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy.
Forgive my cynicism but appealing in the middle of a pandemic lockdown and playing the NHS help card is hardly professional nor does suddenly justify any new need for a development that has previously been refused many times; it instead smacks of desperation grasping at any straw. Now two months on, hindsight of course tells us that given the unfortunate amount of COVID related deaths in care homes there is now increased bed space in existing care facilities and at the time of writing our hospitals are actually currently less busy than prior to the pandemic and Nightingale hospitals across the country stand largely empty – their argument for re-submission is therefore proved fallacious, the more so for the fact that prior to the outbreak of COVID19 there was neither a need for a care home given existing spare market bed capacity and over supply of care homes in the area and the local Health Centres in the area are not in any event able to support any further increase in patient demand. New Care Projects would do well to listen to previous comments for refusal of their applications and as Lynne Prescot comments 'it's the nature and location'.