Plans for 60 bed care home refused

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Planning permission to build a 60 bedroom care home on Manchester Road has been refused.

Members of the Northern Planning Committee voted against the Planning Officer's recommendation to approve Care UK's plans which involved demolishing two detached homes with detached garages at 107 to 109 Manchester Road and replacing them with a care home containing 60 ensuite bedrooms.

The scheme included a hairdressers, café and a cinema on there ground floor along with lounges, dining rooms and flexible day rooms on all floors.

Objections were received from 145 properties who raised concerns regarding a lack of car parking, highway safety issues, poor drainage, doctors' surgeries in the area will be overwhelmed, there is not a need in the area for additional care homes, loss of light and overlooking to surrounding adjacent neighbours, the building will be out of character with the surrounding area and public transport is lacking to the site.

Wilmslow Town Council recommended refusal of the application on the grounds of overdevelopment of the site within a low-density area and being contrary to Policy NE6 of the Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan with regards to garden development. They stated "The development is out-of-keeping with the streetscene, particularly in terms of mass. The proposed parking provision is of poor design, insufficient and contrary to Cheshire East Council's policy in respect of care home parking provision."

Cllr Iain Macfarlane, Wilmslow West & Chorley, said "After generating a huge amount of comments on the Cheshire East planning website this application for a 60 bed care home was soundly rejected by the Northern Planning committee. 

Ward Councillor Don Stockton opened the debate against the proposal followed by Councillor Jon Newell from Residents of Wilmslow who raised the problem of 65 staff travelling to work at a care home with limited car parking
spaces and a lack of sufficient public transport servicing the site.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith discussed the already high number of available beds in local care homes and questioned the need for another one. Christopher Lee, a local objector, spoke about these plans which would result in massive over-development with a huge commercial building in the middle of a residential area.

"The voting by the Northern Planning committee was 2 for the proposal and 8 against."

The scheme was refused on the grounds that "The proposed development, would result in a cramped form of development and overdevelopment of the site which would undermine the visual amenity of the area and its low density character" and "It has not been demonstrated that there is a proven need for such elderly accommodation."

The Planning Officer had recommended the Northern Planning Officer approve the application stating:

"The application lies within Wilmslow, which is identified as a Key Service Centre where the principle of such development on the site is acceptable. As the proposal is not classified as use class C3 (dwellinghouses), there is no affordable housing requirement. However, the development will provide suitable accommodation to enable an ageing population within Cheshire East to live full independent lives for as long as possible. It is considered that the proposal would make a valuable contribution towards housing for elderly people within the Borough, as well as continuity in their care, which is a material consideration. In light of an objection from the Council's Adult Services, the precise need is still being discussed with the applicant and will be reported to Members by way of an update."

Adding "The proposal also raises no significant visual, highway safety, amenity, design or flooding issues, and complies with relevant local and national planning policies. A number of economic benefits will also arise from the development including additional trade for local business and the creation of employment. Bearing all the above points in mind, it is considered that the proposal accords with all other relevant Development Plan policies and as such it is recommended the application be approved, subject to relevant conditions and a s106 contribution towards healthcare provision."

The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council planning portal by searching for planning reference 20/1560M.

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Comments

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

David Smith
Friday 6th November 2020 at 8:07 pm
The right decision.
Chris Neill
Saturday 7th November 2020 at 8:29 am
A great victory for common sense and community protection over total greed.
Congratulations to all those who fought hard against this proposal , Northern Planning, Mr Stockton, Mr Newll, Mr Goldsmith, Chris Lee, and others who successfully defended yet another attack on the quality of our town.
Developers have to develop, I understand that, but we,re fortunate that a body of like minded people are there to protect the town for now and for future generations against overdevelopment.The planning committee , the 2 on Northern planning committee who voted for it, seem that they do not really care that much, or fully understand the implications and the potential damage that can be done to a small town with bad planning decisions. You only have to walk around for an hour and you can easily see the mistakes planners have left us with in the past. Not only that, the pressure on our fragile services from this, would not have been welcome. Well done to the good guys.
Charlie Cook
Saturday 7th November 2020 at 8:57 am
They'll be back....
Roger Bagguley
Saturday 7th November 2020 at 8:59 am
Very pretty picture that hides the truth. This building is a monster behind a glossy facade. It will totally blight the the lives for immediate neighbours and local community. We have to support our Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan and resist a growing number of applications that, when approved, fill gardens with concrete, eroding rather than increasing our green infrastructure as is the wish of the majority of Wilmslow residents.

The assertion a clever use of opaque glass successfully breaks this mass down into smaller and acceptable units within this setting is a nonsence.
Jon Newell
Monday 9th November 2020 at 1:27 pm
Having attended the meeting of the Northern Planning meeting to present the objections of Wilmslow Town Council, one matter left me appalled.

The article above highlights the objections of our local health centres who were unanimous in their view that they were at full capacity and could not cope with an additional 60 high needs patients.

The issue was never subject to debate. Using what, I believe, is a nationally agreed formula, the objections were “withdrawn” following a commitment by the developer to make a one off financial contribution of c£32,000 to be spent between the affected surgeries.

If this sum were to be paid annually, I would have thought it too low. As a single, one off payment it is scandalous.

I must stress that the decision to accept this sum is outside the discretion of our local surgeries and Cheshire East - it is imposed on both by national over sight bodies. I strongly believe both the health centres and CEC see the sum as totally inadequate.

I intend to write to our MP to see if this ridiculous policy can be over turned.

Yet another reason why national politics should have no place in Local decision making.

Jon Newell
Residents of Wilmslow
Jon Newell
Monday 9th November 2020 at 1:35 pm
Careful readers of the article will spot the fundamental error in the Planning Officer’s report.

The Planning Officer is accurately reported as saying that the proposed home would support an ageing population in pursuing full independent lives.

A complete misunderstanding of the nature of the business on which he was giving his opinion.

The whole point of such facilities is that they are targeted at those incapable of independent living. It is focussed on individuals who need intensive nursing throughout each 24 hour period.

The applicant’s representative confirmed that they were expecting to charge £1500-2000 per bed per week, depending on care needs. This is not a “product” for those capable of independent living.

Jon Newell
Residents of Wilmslow
Pete Taylor
Monday 9th November 2020 at 7:35 pm
Over the years I've noticed that lazy "Planning Officers" will pad-out their reports by simply cutting and pasting from the Developer's statements.

Is it not about time that they should reflect upon who pays their wages? They are supposed to present an unbiased view of what is best for the community- not simply tick off numbers on some, inevitably flawed, "Plan" which was produced subject to massive pressure from Developers under the previous CEC administration?
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 11th November 2020 at 4:14 pm
What an earth is going on with the Planning officers for Cheshire East? The same substantive objections have been raised for this proposal, just as they were for the one on Handforth road, but the same planning office, which is supposed to be the expert in these matters, ignores this council's own planning procedure and policy to recommend approval which is then overturned by the Planning Committee. It hardly looks like the Planing office is doing its own due diligence. I think our own councillors should investigate whether this a a matter of poor training, incompetence or being a little too comfortable in their relationship with local developers...
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 11th November 2020 at 4:16 pm
What an earth is going on with the Planning officers for Cheshire East? The same substantive objections have been raised for this proposal, just as they were for the one on Handforth road, but the same planning office, which is supposed to be the expert in these matters, ignores this council's own planning procedure and policy to recommend approval which is then overturned by the Planning Committee. It hardly looks like the Planing office is doing its own due diligence. I think our own councillors should investigate whether this a a matter of poor training, incompetence or being a little too comfortable in their relationship with local developers...
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 11th November 2020 at 4:27 pm
Jon I entirely agree - the same trivial one-off payment was suggested for the proposed (and now approved at its 3rd appeal, despite the best efforts of the planning committee) 51-53 Handforth Road development. Incidentally, having taken down the overall footprint and no of bedrooms to try and gain planing permission; since the appeal they have submitted a FURTHER proposal which takes both back up again...

Anyway, Esther McVey is currently trying to discuss this with the Government dept involved and as these two developments are so similar in scope, objections and less than 0.5 miles away as the crow flies, then I believe it would be valuable to tackle both together - they will overwhelm the same surgeries, they are both poorly located, overdeveloped and not likely to draw from a local catchment ( how many of us in Wilmslow and Handforth can afford (£78,000 - £104000 a year?), so they will need to be additionally funded by Cheshire Easts overstretched social care/health budget)

Also, as admitted by the Council's own social care department, the level of current vaccines in local elder care budgets and the impact on demand for nursing homes as a result fo Covid-19 ( nobody now thinks its a good idea to collect our most vulnerable members of society in one place to be infected) means we are NOT in need of additional beds, especially when developers are trying to shoehorn 24-hour care operations into domestic-size plots poorly served by public transport links and inadequate parking.
Michelle Bell
Wednesday 11th November 2020 at 4:32 pm
Good it’s the wrong location the local GP practice have said they can’t take anymore patients.
David Smith
Thursday 12th November 2020 at 10:49 am
I am reminded of the film “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” when a town changes name from Bedford Falls to ‘Pottersville’ after a local developer, Mr Potter, slowly exerts a controlling influence over development. An oldie movie and a bit of its time but the message is quite illuminating. Mr Potter began to have too much influence on the structure of a community, eventually owned most of it and could do what he liked because there was none to say NO - all to the detriment of the ‘folk’ who actually lived there. How long do you think before we see a change to the name of Wilmslow? Any suggestions?

Contacting our MP should make a difference but I have my doubts and would be pleased for her to sit down with us all and explain that I am wrong. You have my details Esther [PS: I still have not had a reply to my email asking how you voted in Marcus Rashford’s recent bill on feeding schoolchildren in the holidays].

If a 60-bed hotel - sorry ‘care home’ - is to help the ‘guests’ pursue full independent lives I guess many of them will want to have a car. Then with a lack of public transport the ‘hotel’ workers will mostly come by car. Visitors will come by car. Doctors/ambulances/undertakers/delivery vans/service vehicles will come by car. Where will they all park? NOT along Manchester Road outside because the advisory cycle lane, we have been told by councillor Goldsmith, is soon to be made into a permanent cycle lane for cyclists and NOT cars. It is a massively overdue and welcome change because the 40mph road is the only route for cyclists coming to town from this side of Wilmslow. Many of them are schoolchildren who at the moment have to weave dangerously in and out of the cars parked in their advisory cycle lane. Incidentally, if you walk from Manchester Road, past Styal Road and down the hill towards town you will eventually be unable to walk on the RHS because there is no pavement as you approach the river Bollin. This means that ALL pedestrians [with pushchairs too] must use the LHS footpath which near the driveway into the waterworks before the Bollin bridge is just about wide enough to take 2 people side-by-side - providing that the hedge hasn’t grown over onto the footpath and lessened the width. So everyone using the footpath into Wilmslow does so with the constant danger of vehicles, some of which are HGV’s, passing by within INCHES at speeds sometimes in excess of the 30mph limit because they have not yet fully slowed down from the previous 40mph limit by Styal Road. As parking on footpaths is tolerated in Wilmslow there is nothing to stop a vehicle parking on the pavement here and reducing the width to such an extent that the only route for a pushchair [= mother and baby going to town, perhaps all the way from Handforth] to pass by is to enter the road. I have a photograph if anyone is interested of a Freelander registration SA04WDZ doing just that.
I digress a little but for good reason. Getting back to parking at the ‘care home hotel’ where leaving a vehicle on the grass verges, on the pavements or in the nearby local streets is not acceptable. It would have made more sense for the developers to purchase a third house for a multi-storey car park which really would have exposed the intention to make money out of this ‘project’ and nothing at all to do with improving the infrastructure of Joneslow - sorry Wilmslow - a spellcheck error [I’ve informed Microsoft word]!

As for the stated ‘guide to fees’ of £1,500-£2,000 PER WEEK, which works out at around £100,000 per year, YES 100 GRAND! Well that’s just for starters. There will be more “depending on your needs” and I bet it doesn’t include extras like newspapers, hairdressers, cinema tickets and taking the ‘old folk’ on trips to the seaside.
There is also a danger that the council - YOU AND ME VIA OUR COUNCIL TAX - might have to stump up to pay for internees when Social Services have a responsibility to house someone when they have nowhere else to go.

I speak form the experience of having my mum in the BUPA Hazelmere House several years ago. The whole experience was just a money making exercise and is beautifully demonstrated by the small print when my mum died. BUPA charged a month’s fee after she had left and gone to the undertakers. This was standard practice on the basis that they might not be able to ‘rent out’ a room straight away. A bit like having to give a month’s notice to ‘leave’ [die] when you would then be exempt. I might add here that ALL the carers were wonderful and earning close to the minimum wage - it’s the BUPA management that weren’t really into the business of caring for old folk who I think were viewed as just a commodity and numbers in a game to determine their annual bonus.

As for planning, I guess there will be no change which means the rich guys win in the end and justify changing the nature of the place where we live on the basis that it is providing jobs and helping the local economy when all they are doing is rising up the list of the richest persons in the UK - until they die and then no longer appear on the list! Rich people please take note, how are you going to be remembered when you have gone and not taken ANY of your riches with you?

You can learn about Care UK at the link below
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Care_UK
Brian Hall
Monday 16th November 2020 at 8:24 am
David Smith (12th November) hits the nail right on the head. Obviously the owners of the two houses due to be demolished would have been handsomely rewarded as well as giving two fingers to their neighbours. I am pleased that this new council is beginning to take notice of the residents. I also hope that they speed up the lans for the cycle lane - Manchester Road has become another free car park!!

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