West Lynn care village set to bring 100 jobs
11:00 28 February 2013
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A care village for 200 elderly people which would create more than 100 jobs looks set to get the go-ahead.
Councillors are being recommended to back proposals to develop land off St Peters Road, in West Lynn, as long as the firm behind them makes a £20,000 contribution towards the King’s Lynn Ferry.
Previous plans for the village had been rejected amid concerns about the area’s heritage and the aesthetics of the building work.
Now developers say they will use traditional materials to complement the look of the area.
King’s Lynn Civic Society opposed the original plans, saying the buildings were not in keeping with the area and would block views from the east bank of St Peter’s Church.
But last night its chairman Alison Gifford said: “The previous design was so dense, we feel the developers have really worked hard to change that. No one wants to be looking at an ugly building do they.
“It’s acceptable, we can’t have perfection all the time. We knew something had to be built there, we just wanted the right thing to be built. We’ll obviously be keeping a watching brief on it.”
The proposal for the care village includes plans for a specialist dementia care building as well as two buildings for specialist nursing care and 18 cottages for independent living. There will also be a village hall which will function as a day centre.
Simon Van Herrewege, director of development for the applicant Prime Life, said: “This will provide massive employment opportunities for the area. There will be well over 100 jobs on the site. We have a couple of contracting firms we have used in the past, one of which is local and it makes sense to uses local contractors.
“We already operate other facilities within Norfolk, it’s an area of much need. The core facilities are going to cater for people in the local area.
“The facility is going to be built in excess of national standards. There will be a cinema room, gym, lots of different lounges and secure garden areas.
“There is a social area being built which will benefit the whole community. We hope it can be a social centre for the whole village.”
Gary McGuinness, ward councillor for South and West Lynn, said: “I’ve been speaking with the residents of West Lynn and they are broadly supportive of it.
“There is some opportunity for jobs. The developers had a feeling that it could provide something like 170 jobs in the long term, about 50pc of those would be taken from the locality. “Obviously when it comes to care jobs you want to make sure people are necessarily qualified and you can’t always get all of those from the local area. For the local economy it has got to be a benefit.
“Another thing I have looked into is whether there is a need for the type of care provided and it seems there is. There is definitely a need for the dementia care they are aiming at providing.
“One of the things the developers are keen to do is have a system where local people can become members of the facilities and so can go along for things like bingo or for a fish and chip supper.
“Looking at the general demographic of West Lynn, which does have quite a number of elderly residents, there might be quite a lot of interest.”
Norfolk County Council cut its £25,000-a-year subsidy of the ferry as part of a £500,000 package of cuts which came into force last year.
West Norfolk councillors, who discuss the plans on Monday, March 4, have been recommended to approve them provided a one-off £20,000 contribution is made towards the ferry via a Section 106 agreement.
Gail Kingston, co-owner of the Lynn Ferry, said: “We’re very pleased if the council puts money into the ferry because we are building a new specialised craft, which is expensive.”