Plans to demolish an existing 48-bedroom Bury St Edmunds care home and build a new 80-bed facility on the same site have been approved.
Care UK’s plans for Glastonbury Court, which were recommended for approval, got the green light from St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Development Control Committee today.
It forms the final stage of a three year project by Care UK, which will see it invest £60 million in 10 new care home and wellbeing centre developments to provide better care for older people in Suffolk.
Its Glastonbury Court plans had been the subject of much debate and were revised to increase car parking provision from 29 to 34 spaces following a number of concerns by local residents.
Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Adrian Kearley told the committee Care UK was ‘entirely confident’ 34 spaces would be appropriate as no residents would own cars and visitor trips to care homes were infrequent, leaving the majority of spaces for staff.
Cllr Robert Everitt said he would like to see staff dissuaded from parking at the facility all day while Cllr Peter Stevens said visits by family and friends should be encouraged.
John Noble, of Suffolk County Council, Highways, said the number of spaces was ‘quite generous’ and that not all staff would park cars there.
“Care home staff aren’t generally well paid and are looking for ways to reduce their costs, and one way of doing that is to share cars,” he said.
Stuart Rose, of Westminster Drive, Bury, said: “Concerns and objections still remain amongst the local resident community and businesses and encompass loss of amenity, highway safety and disturbance, both during construction and use.”
“I remain convinced that many of the objections can be mitigated by improved design and practice if goodwill is shown by all.”
Cllr Ian Houlder said he wanted measures to be taken to mitigate the impact of construction traffic at the start and end of school days.
After the meeting, Suffolk county councillor Sarah Stamp said: “I’m really pleased planning permission was granted and that building will start on what is a really important and much-needed facility.
“However, I do share residents’ concerns about parking – the area is already heavily congested and I hope Care UK will stick to their promises to do everything they can to mitigate against this getting worse.”
The redevelopment of the Glastonbury Road site will see the construction of a two-storey, 80 bedroom home to provide 24-hour care for the frail elderly with a garden and outside seating areas, as well as a range of facilities that include a café, hairdresser and small cinema.
There will also be a detached, single-storey well-being centre for use by non-resident elderly. It will offer a range of day clubs, activities and specialist care, including services for those with dementia and other progressive illnesses, and is aimed at helping older people maintain their independence for longer in their own homes and provide valuable respite services for family carers.
The development is the second new care home and wellbeing centre for Bury St Edmunds, following Davers Court on Shakers Lane, which is due to open in August 2014. Work on the new Glastonbury Court development by Care UK’s construction partner Castleoak is scheduled to begin in September 2014, and is due to open in November 2015.
Residents at the existing Glastonbury Court will have a number of different options, including the opportunity to move into the new Davers Court care home when it opens, after which construction on the new Glastonbury Court will begin. All residents and their relatives are being consulted on the plans.
By 2016 Care UK’s 10 new homes and ten wellbeing centres will have replaced all Suffolk County Council’s existing care home and wellbeing centres, which date mainly from the 1960s and 1970s.
Chris Hopkinson, Care UK regional operations director, said: “We are thrilled to achieve 10 out of 10 planning approvals for our new developments which directly address Suffolk County Council’s vision for high quality, purpose-built facilities for nursing and residential older people’s care.
“Our partnership with Suffolk County Council began in December 2012 and since then construction has begun and is progressing well on eight of our new developments with six due to open later this year. This is an exciting time for us and we are delighted that the approval of Glastonbury Court completes our project aim.”