Developer Octopus Healthcare has resubmitted proposals for a care home off Bankhall Lane in Hale, a scheme that was previously refused by Trafford Council last year due to concerns around overdevelopment.
The previous proposals for a 72-bed dementia care centre were refused by the council’s planning committee in April following a backlash from local residents and groups, while planning officers had also recommended the scheme be rejected.
Planners had argued the proposals failed to preserve and enhance the adjacent South Hale Conservation Area; that the development would be inappropriate to the site’s semi-rural context; and the scheme’s impact on protected species on the site.
They also criticised the scheme for a “lack of opportunities for residents/patients to successfully integrate with the local community”.
Following refusal, the developer appealed the decision, and a public enquiry is due to be held in the spring. However, Octopus has also decided to submit a fresh planning application for the project, which includes 64 beds, a reduction of eight on the previous proposal.
According to planner Savills, 64 units is the minimum required to make the scheme commercially viable; any fewer would mean the staffing costs would be “prohibitively high”.
Savills argued the scheme “meets all technical requirements” with the proposal retaining all existing boundary treatments, and does not encroach on undeveloped land around the site.
As well as the reduction in size, other changes from the previous scheme include moving the edge of the buildings further away from the site’s rear boundary, and increasing the size of landscaped areas and open space.
Pre-application meetings held with the council for the previous scheme found that the principle of development on the site was acceptable, but after an informal pre-application meeting, planning officers raised concerns over the “visual harm” development of the site would cause, and argued the scheme would “continue to establish a more commercial character to Bankhall Lane”.
Savills argued that this advice, offered by the council in November, was “not consistent” with formal pre-application advice, undertaken as part of the previous scheme.
The updated planning application, which was lodged in late December, has already attracted a number of objections, including from Conservative Cllr Patricia Young. She argued developing the site would be “dangerous” due to traffic concerns, although the council’s highways officers have argued the scheme is acceptable in principle.
As of 21 January, there have also been 19 further objections from local residents.