Care village plan for West Lynn rejected by West Norfolk council

A plan for a multi-million pound 'care' village on the edge of King's Lynn was rejected today.

Leicester-based Prime Life had applied to create three residential care homes on the 4.79-acre site fronting the River Great Ouse at West Lynn. The development would have created more than 100 jobs,

But members of West Norfolk council's planning committee voted against the plan with councillors branding the design of the homes 'boring' and 'disappointing'.

Councillor Michael Tilbury said: 'I don't think we can vote for it because of the importance of the site. I don't think it's a poor proposal – I actually believe it's quite good – but there can only be one development on that site and once it's there, it's there.

'Therefore, I believe, it should be an outstanding proposal and this is not outstanding.'

Fellow councillor Zipha Christopher said: 'I'm in favour of the concept but we must remember in this town we have remarkable heritage along the eastern river front.

'This application does not reflect that heritage. It's boring and to approve this application, would do the town a huge disfavour.'

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Councillor John Loveless later added: 'I feel disappointed that they haven't tried to reflect some of the characteristics of the other side of river.'

The application did, however, receive support from councillor David Collis. He said: 'I think there is a need for this type of facility. The need is growing and that's why I'm in favour of it. I don't think the west bank needs to mirror the east bank.'

The meeting also heard Prime Life had wanted to build 18 'care cottages' on the site, but withdrew them from its application because of an issue over single-storey construction and flood risk. Councillors were also told funding would have been available for the West Lynn ferry service if permission had been granted for the development.

A section-106 agreement would have seen Prime Life pay a lump sum to the operators SN Kingston because the ferry is likely to be used by staff at the new village. The ferry service, which links West Lynn to the main town centre, is due to lose its county council subsidy.

The application had been met with opposition from Lynn's Civic Society which claims the homes will dominate the riverside scene.

'Our main concerns with this application related to what we regard as the solid wall of development along the river frontage and the design of these prominent buildings, incorporating a flat roof, that we feel creates a very unsympathetic style,' said a letter from the society to West Norfolk Council.

English Heritage also objected to the application and said: 'Currently the church is seen nestling amid trees and bushes with a number of domestic-scale vernacular roofs nearby, and the development will introduce alien forms into these views.'

The application was for two 60-bed close-care units, along with a further 70-bed residential care unit with a dementia care section.

But Norfolk County Council, while welcoming the care village and the 70-bed dementia unit, said there is no need for what would effectively be a further 120-bed care home.

The authority said its strategy recognised a need for around 50 additional care home places by 2020 in and around Lynn.

Facilities for residents at the village would have included a cinema, hairdressers, pub and landscaped garden, social centre, internet lounge and library and fitness room.

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