Cheshire West and Chester’s planning committee voted for a second time to refuse developer New Care’s application for a 69-bedroom extra-care scheme on Chester Road in Hartford, despite officers’ recommendation to approve it.
Northwich town councillor and Hartford resident Sam Naylor said the demolition of three detached properties proposed in the plans was “tantamount to an act of suburban criminal damage”, while Geoffery Mullet, speaking on behalf of residents during the committee meeting this week, said the development would “degrade the Chester Road street scene and significantly reduce the quality of the townscape”.
New Care chief executive Chris McGoff slammed the planning committee’s decision, describing it as an act of “nimbyism”.
He said: “The refusal by local politicians, fuelled by nimbyism, is shocking for a scheme like this at this perilous moment in time. We are meant to be ‘building back better’ by creating new employment opportunities to aid the recovery of our shattered economy. This decision is a slap in the face.”
New Care, part of McGoff Group, claims there is a shortage of extra care accommodation in the local area.
Added McGoff: “This was a sad decision indeed, but as with many of our other applications, we now move forward to our appeal, which while costly for local council tax payers, does tend to yield the right decision.”
He pointed to a study by Carterwood Chartered Surveyors that showed there is a need for 159 extra care beds in the area to tackle the lack of dedicated specialist dementia beds.
Kath Fairhurst, chief operating officer of New Care, added that developments such as the one put forward by the developer could help ease pressure on local GP surgeries. “We are a good employer, a good neighbour and a positive part of our local communities,” she said.
This week’s refusal was the second time that New Care’s proposals have been knocked back by Cheshire West & Chester Council’s planning committee.
In July, the committee members also voted against the plans, saying it “failed to contribute positively to the character of the area”.
The developer appealed that decision and an outcome is pending. In the meantime, New Care lodged fresh plans for an extra care home on the same site.
The scheme, which would offer residential, nursing and specialist dementia care, would see three existing detached properties off the A559 demolished and replaced with the three-storey care home, delivered over several blocks.
Amendments have been made to the previously refused scheme, which included four detached houses to the rear of the care home that no longer form part of the plans.
The facility would be positioned further back from Chester Road under the revised proposals and additional landscaping, larger amenity space, and an increased number of parking spaces also featured among the revisions.
Garner Town Planning is the planning consultant and Street Design Partnership is the architect.