Decision due on revised plans for 63 bedroom care home


Plans to build a 63 bedroom care home on Handforth Road will be considered by the Northern Planning Committee next week.

Having won their appeal in August 2020 to enable a new care home to be built in Wilmslow, New Care Projects submitted revised plans in November 2020 to increase the number of bedrooms.

The company secured permission, via their appeal, to demolish two four bedroomed houses in large plots at 51 to 53 Handforth Road and replace them with a 60 bedroom 3 storey care home.

The Altrincham based company originally submitted a planning application in March 2018 to demolish the two detached houses and replace them with an 83 bedroom three-storey care home. However, due to some objections from the local community a decision was not forthcoming and New Care submitted an amended scheme for a 65 bedroom care home with a revised site entrance position as well as 26 car parking spaces.

However, 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. 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. 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.

New Care Projects subsequently lodged a second appeal, which was allowed in August and planning permission was granted to enable a new 60 bedroom care home to be built at 51 to 53 Handforth Road.

However, after a two and a half year battle to secure planning permission, the company amended the plans further to increase the number of bedrooms to 63 with 25 car parking spaces.

The planning officer is recommending the Northern Planning Committee approve the revised plans for the facility which will employ 47 full time and 32 part time members of staff, operating on shift patterns, at their meeting on Wednesday 13th January.

New Care


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

Roger Bagguley
Tuesday 5th January 2021 at 3:59 pm
Given the Northern Planning Committee has refused all previous applications only to have their opinions dismissed at appeal, then members need to dismiss this one too to make the point they do not approve of having the wishes of local residents, as represented by them, turned over by a single government planning inspector.

I make this comment on behalf of Residents of Wilmslow (RoW)
Chris Neill
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 12:31 pm
Very well said Roger Bagguley. Local and democratic opinion is key.
Simon Atkins
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 4:05 pm
I'm sure it'll be approved and then they'll revise it back to 65 bedrooms again as they originally wanted. This whole thing smells funny to me.
Mo Jamil
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 4:43 pm
If they have any common sense the committee would approve it, given they had no real grounds to turn it down in the first place.
Tim Royle
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 5:00 pm
Why put a care home in amongst lovely detached residential housing? 60 residents but only 25 parking spaces... so where will all the visitors park at weekend? There’s been a site derelict in Handforth centre for years that could be modernised? And what was it before it went bust.... a residential care home no less
Bill Bennett
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 5:46 pm
This Care Home was refused twice by the local planning department who know the area well.
The local health centre also objected and said they couldn’t cope with more elderly patients, who would require a high degree of care.
There were about 90 objections on each application, with valid reasons for objecting. One of the reasons was that the number of parking spaces on the site, falls way short of planning requirements. There have been vehicles parking on the pavement, outside the site on the past few days causing havoc on a busy road and we are on lockdown. His help us when we’ve eventually are free of lockdown.
This 365/24/7 commercial operation was refused for a number of very valid reasons. Being built in a residential area was another reason.
Given the above, refused twice by the planning department, who know the area. The fact that this commercial building is three stories high.
It doesn’t comply with minimum parking requirements. At least 90 objections from the people who live locally. Our local health services said they couldn’t cope with the extra work from this unwanted and unnecessary Care home. There are literally many many vacancies in local Care Homes. Despite all of the above reasons. One lady planning inspector, who has never even visited the site, overturned the refusals and granted permission. I’m sure I am not alone in wondering, what induced this lady to overturn the planning refusal, when there were so many valid reasons for refusal. A public inquiry is required, to get to the real reasons for granting permission.
John Harries
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 6:10 pm
Roger Bagguley/RoW) sums it up nicely.
This is now entirely in the hands of the local authority (CEC) - the Northern Planning Committee. There is no point in revisiting all the old objections etc. but the committee must now stand firm and stick to what the Inspector underwrote (or possibly grant anything reasonable that represents variation that is something 'less' of a care project).
New Care Projects have got what they wanted (and no doubt expect to laugh all the way to the bank on the strength of it but perhaps 60 beds just doesn't cover the investment - greed however breeds contempt and in this particular developers case, utter contempt).
Come on CEC, you're supposed to be a new game in town so show us residents some resolve, this decision (which is your responsibility now) may discourage these modern day property development 'highwaymen' from trying it on again.
David Smith
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 7:50 pm
I've not heard anyone talk such nonsense in a long time. If you want to know a few 'real grounds' for refusing planning permission just have a look at the reasons posted in the comments above. Since you haven't given any reasons FOR an approval it just makes me wonder why. Do you perhaps have some connection with New Care Projects who want to build it or some other self-interest - like representing the construction company hoping to put it up?
Mo Jamil
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 8:34 pm
The above are not ‘real reasons’ but emotive nonsense. The expert planning department recommended approval for all three applications on sound planning criteria grounds. Its people like you who are ignorant of planning law and hope that your poltical masters can overturn or trump the law just because you object to it. Care homes are built in residential areas because they are occupied by and serve the local elderly population. They are not zoos or factories that need to be located outside towns and cities. Unbelievable arrogance by a few nimbyists so called “Residents of Wilmslow”
Toni Fox
Wednesday 6th January 2021 at 11:33 pm

The Director of Social Care at Cheshire East Council has submitted an objection to the planning application on the basis that:

CEC adopts a Home First policy to help people remain independent for as
long as possible in their own home or an Extra Care Housing (ECH) scheme.
The ambition to develop ECH as opposed to residential care is set out in the
Vulnerable and Older Persons Housing Strategy.
Covid 19 pandemic raises questions about the future perception and viability
of care homes.
At time of writing there are 656 vacant care home beds in CE, with 226
vacancies in Wilmslow and surrounding area.

Perhaps you would like to comment on these facts?

Councillor Toni Fox
Dean Row Ward, Wilmslow
Independent - Residents of Wilmslow
Mo Jamil
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 6:01 am
Great dream by a director of social care but far from reality in the ground. I didn't see him objecting to the first three applications? There will always be a need for care homes unfortunately and this will not end in the near future. And they do need to be located in residential areas as they are for residents and their families. I welcome a policy shift that allows elderly people to remain in their homes and cared for by their own families but this is not going to happen overnight. Mixed provision is best but one cannot wish away a proven need for care home provision. I think it is naive to say just because there are homes with empty beds in CE you cannot give planning approval for new care homes where there is a demonstrated demand for high quality care and choice. That argument is the same as why build new houses when there are empty houses across the country.
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 9:01 am

I know from the recent Manchester Road care home application (that I spoke against in October) that Cheshire East already has one of the highest number of care home beds per capita in the country. This is why we already have the equivalent of 10 care homes of this size standing empty in the borough.

The planning for this site was approved pre Covid-19, when it was deemed the future need for more care home places over-rode its planning breeches. However, since then, demand for care home places has dramatically fallen. People now want to live at home for as long as possible and to receive care visits to allow them to do this. Over Christmas, I saw the first TV adverts for two national companies offering this service, which highlights this major trend.

Like many other areas in society, the Covid-19 restrictions have greatly accelerated trends that would have otherwise have taken a decade to happen. This has happened in the care home market.

Much of the demand has now gone and may never come back. We already have too many beds and no idea if they will ever be filled. Consequently, this planning application should now be judged solely on its planning merits, which should mean it is rejected.

The Cheshire East director of social care is saying the same. As 65% of the councils total budget is spent on social care, I think they know more about this market than you, me and the Planning Inspector combined.

So to accuse them of naivety or dreaming is stretching credibility beyond its limit. Instead, perhaps you should reassess your own views as they seem to be based on a market that since March 2020 no longer exists.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley
Tim Royle
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 9:22 am
Mo, why would you purchase and remove two longstanding and expensive residential units when there is a derelict care home in the centre of Handforth that would have been a prime choice.
There are also two new housing developments in Handforth that could have provided space for your new home if it had been thought about properly and in advance?
There are also planned developments at Handforth garden village, why not utilise that space?
Mo Jamil
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 10:23 am
Your quote......“ over-rode its planning breeches.” What on earth are you talking about?
Then you quoting selectively to suit your own anti development bias. Here’s some counter references that put things in better perspective for readers and answers your points. I wouldn't be surprised if you and your fellow councillors are influencing the views of the director of social services, like you attempted to undermine the planning officers in this application.

As a Councillor, I would have thought you would be above politics and represent your ward in an impartial manner.
Mo Jamil
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 10:31 am
If planners adopted your views, no kind of development would get approval anywhere.
David Smith
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 11:09 am
OK Mo Jamil - why are you so much in support of this application?
Mike Jones
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 1:27 pm
@David Smith - I suspect we know the answer to that one

Mo Jamil
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 2:10 pm
David Smith
Why are you and a few others so much against this application?
Are others not allowed a view that is different to yours?
I gave a comment in favour of the application but guys like you don't want the readers to hear the truth and to let the public make up their own minds. It’s no coincidence that the same few councillors and friends of wilmslow commentators are making remarks on this topic and trying to drown out others views by disparaging remarks...keep venting.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 6:28 pm
Adeeba Minhas seems to have gone very quiet.
Tony Haluradivth
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 6:40 pm
Dr Jamil you have registered offices at 53 Handforth Road....2 seconds on the Companies House Register provided that much information. You are no ordinary bystander are you Dr Jamil? ;))
Toni Fox
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 7:19 pm

Sadly you are undermining any reasonable points that you may have had by implying that senior professional officers of the Council could be influenced by the views of members.

The link you provided relates to a report written by Frank Knight, an estate agency, residential and commercial property consultancy based in London in August 2020.

I, and I imagine most, would support the opinion of a professional officer with years of experience in the care sector in Cheshire East Borough rather than a Company seeking profit margins.

Councillor Toni Fox
Dean Row Ward - Wilmslow
Independent - Residents of Wilmslow
Sarah Walters
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 8:38 pm
One word gave you away McGoff (aka Mo)
Pete Taylor
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 9:46 pm
It's rather confusing, to an ordinary bloke in the street, when some care-homes are closing down locally (because there is no demand, apparently) and yet other people want to demolish perfectly good dwellings to build care-homes. Surely both cannot be right?

In this case I don't think the CEO got off to a very good start in his effort to win hearts and minds:

... and I'm old enough to remember when a "well-known local developer" enlisted people on his payroll (allegedly) to make public comments in the local press, iirc that didn't end too well. I'm almost certain that such practices have been stamped out years ago (although Private Eye touched on this subject in the not too distant past). What do I know?

I have absolutely no knowledge of the personalities involved here but I do hope that it is not going to cost the Council-Tax payer too much to achieve an equitable solution.
David Smith
Thursday 7th January 2021 at 10:29 pm

OK then give us all the TRUTH - well the version as you see it anyway - and then those of us who voted for the 'NIMBYISTS' to represent us can decide if we accept your point of view.
Mo Jamil
Friday 8th January 2021 at 8:14 am
The few of you who are vocally against this developmen just cannot stand another view. Nevermind me, you are also accusing an independent planning Inspector who approved it as having ulterior motives. The truth is you can’t stand a decision that went against your irrational arguments despite supporting and lobbying your residents of wilmslow councillors in the planning committee. The proposed development won approval on its merit That is the fact and the truth. I and others who supported it stand vindicated.
Roger Bagguley
Friday 8th January 2021 at 10:53 am
To hopefully draw a line under this matter it remains the case that, having previously refused this application, and despite their decision being overturned by a government inspector, members of the NPC should refuse again.

The fact there is no black and white in the application of planning policy leads to the the whole process becoming a lottery. It is the job of local councillors to protect their town and its residents from any perceived harm so should vote accordingly. They should not, as is likely in this case, be swayed by officers counselling economic wisdom, council money already having been lost at previous appeal, but vote on principle. It is often the case that a second Goverment Inspector will give different weight to policies and reverse the decision of the former colleague. Thus the democratic process must continue.

The sad reality in all of this is it is the paying public that meets the costs which ever way the final decision goes. A double whammy for those local to the approved care home whose amenity is harmed but of no consequence whatsoever to the future owners whose fees will always secure a handsome profit.
Mark Walters
Friday 8th January 2021 at 3:54 pm
There are two key outstanding conditions to be satisfied on the 60 bed proposal imposed by the Planning Inspectorate. Namely a Construction Plan and a Travel Plan to demonstrate that the commercial venture can be self sufficient without having to use Handforth Road and other residential roads as parking overspill for the construction phase and the ongoing day to day operation. These are yet to be approved and the Travel Plan hasn't even been submitted. Therefore any request to increase the operational capacity of the business should just be knocked back until those have been closed out.

So, Mo, this obviously doesn't impact you as you sold out and moved away but it is important for your old neighbours and people who use these roads and pavements (especially given it's a busy school run walking route serving two Primary Schools) that it is got right.
Mo Jamil
Friday 8th January 2021 at 4:11 pm
I didn't see you defending the planning officers when your supporters here were slating them for recommending approval for all three applications. And then slating the independent inspector for overturning the planning committees decision? You have had your full say throughout these applications but it seems you cannot get past the fact that a thorough review of this application took place by expert planners and an independent inspector who applied sound planning law to reach a verdict. Maybe a lesson for you next time to be an honest broker and strike a balance between emotive pressure by a vocal few on the one hand and your public duty to see all sides of the issues affecting planning and development.
Mark Russell
Saturday 9th January 2021 at 8:35 am
Mo makes some relevant points, especially how local councillors should not involve themselves in politics. They are not part of the Downing Street cabinet, they a local councillors that should represent their area, not just a few of their mates.

I know most of them think that they have more brains and power than number, but they have neither. And given the current resident at number 10, it’s a very low bar.
Toni Fox
Saturday 9th January 2021 at 12:01 pm

The decision of a Planning Inspector is final, there is no process to re-visit or overturn it.

I have not expressed an opinion on these new proposals, merely pointed out a statement of fact that is in the public domain, neither do I sit on the Planning Committee that will determine the planning application. The site is not in my ward and I do not personally know any of the residents who have commented on this application.

Planning decisions are made on the basis of considered judgements - either by planning officers or members of one of the planning committees - in weighing the proposals against Local Plan Policies, Policies within Neighbourhood Plans, the NPPF and Legislation.

At a Local Authority level politics plays no part in the determination of planning applications.

I would suggest however that at Government level (Planning Inspectorate) that with a directive from the current Conservative Party to BUILD, BUILD, BUILD that this might be a slightly less even playing field...

Councillor Toni Fox
Geoff Ferguson
Tuesday 12th January 2021 at 1:10 pm
I know this is a little late, but if planning consent for the houses around Welland Road and Finsbury Way stated that each property should have off road parking for two vehicles in order to restrict car parking on the road, then why should parking for the construction and use of the care home allow parking on those roads
Jez Jones
Wednesday 13th January 2021 at 1:06 pm
Absolutely agree with Mo here, finally someone talking sense.

If there is no demand for the beds, why would the company be pursuing the make a loss? Not likely. This company, like all other developers, only will pursue developments where there is demand and therefore profit will be made.
John Harries
Wednesday 13th January 2021 at 9:21 pm
The Northern Planning Committee now have the task of refusing or allowing amendments to the planning application eventually approved under appeal by the Independent Inspector.
There is no good reason why a revised plan, submitted against the general public (and local planning authority) opinion/wishes should now be agreed.
We all know a care home cannot be justified, likewise it's sheer vandalism to insert such a facility into a relatively small wholly residential area when there is a perfectly good existing, modern facility (now being allowed to go to rack and ruin) in an otherwise ideal location not more than 900M away on Wilmslow Road that couldn't be justified due to lack of demand.
Many local engaged and interested people don't like it but the revised plans are for 60 beds and 25 parking spaces so let the developers - Dr. Jamil (erstwhile owner of 53 Handforth Road, one of the two properties in question to be there's a surprise) and New Care Projects (aka McGoff and Byrne) get on with it; surely after two appeals they knew what they might get away with so NPC, absolutely no changes of size/capacity nor retrospective change of use - build and be damned or walk away - and if you fail to fill it up don't even attempt to change it into desirable retirement apartments.
Jean Berman
Friday 15th January 2021 at 5:47 pm
Someone help me out here n one hand I’m taking it full planning hasn’t been granted yet. But I drove past there last week and they have already got rails up and it looks as though work gas started !!!