Care village plans for West Lynn with 100 jobs and multi-million pound redevelopment of waterside site.

Major West Norfolk development would transform River Great Ouse frontage and could see extra cash for popular Lynn ferry service

Plans for a multi-million pound 'care' village on the edge of King's Lynn, creating more than 100 jobs are due to be discussed by planners.

Leicester-based Prime Life has applied to create three residential care homes on the 4.79-acre site fronting the River Great Ouse at West Lynn.

The company also wants to build 18 'care cottages' on the site, but has temporarily withdrawn them from its application because of an issue over single-storey construction and flood risk in the area.

Funding could also be available for the popular West Lynn ferry service if permission is granted for the development.

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A section 106 agreement could see 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 as a result of County Hall cutbacks.

Members of West Norfolk Council's planning committee will be discussing the application at a meeting on Monday, but a report from officers which includes the recommendation on permitting or refusing the scheme, has yet to be released.

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The application has met 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 objects to the application and a letter from David Eve, inspector of historic buildings, says: '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 sees 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, says 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.

But the company behind the scheme, which has recently completed two similar villages in Scunthorpe and Market Harborough, has retained its original proposal.

'Taking into account the provision available locally, which is in the main less than the market place requires, and that this particular client group is widely recognised to be the single largest growing sector, doubling in size over the next 20 years,' said director Peter Van Herrewege.

'We therefore feel that this size of unit is appropriate, and certainly it accords with our practical experience of creating similar units in the past two years,' he added.

The 'care cottage' element of the scheme would be fundamental to the entire project, said a company spokesman yesterday, and Prime Life would be looking to re-submit its application for them after consultation with the Environment Agency.

Details of the development, submitted with the application, says the site would offer flexible accommodation for people of varying needs.

'The incorporation of independent living accommodation and the care homes will enable people to continue to enjoy the remaining years of their life at one facility, as they can be transferred into the more dependent areas when necessary. This will provide some security for future residents, who particularly when becoming ill do not adapt to change well,' says a report.

Facilities for residents at the village would include a cinema lounge, hairdressers, pub lounge and landscaped garden, laundry facilities, social centre, internet lounge and library, kitchen and catering facilities and fitness room.

A total of 119 parking spaces would be created with the scheme which is less than Norfolk County Council's highways department would normally accept with a development of the proposed size.

But a letter from the county authority says the specialist nature of the project would mean the number of spaces would not be a cause for objection.

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