Controversial plans to extend care home thrown out

Plans to extend Brooke House care home have been rejected by South Norfolk Council's development com

Plans to extend Brooke House care home have been rejected by South Norfolk Council's development committee. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant © 2011

Plans to extend a care home and create 18 jobs in the process have been rejected on the grounds of its design and impact on the surrounding environment.

An artist's impression of the proposed extension to Brooke House care home, which has been rejected.

An artist's impression of the proposed extension to Brooke House care home, which has been rejected. Picture: Kingsley Healthcare - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

Kingsley Healthcare had submitted an application to create a 26-bedroom care facility at Brooke House, taking the overall number of bedrooms to 60.

The two-storey extension would have been located to the east side of the current complex, which is accessed via Brooke Gardens.

And the applicant highlighted that 12 full-time and six part-time jobs - adding to the 37 existing staff members - would be created were consent to be granted.

But members of South Norfolk Council’s development committee opted to throw out the project, citing worries surrounding the extension’s modern appearance and its presence within a designated conservation area.


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Jonathan Spinks, member of Brooke Parish Council, gave a raft of reasons during Wednesday’s meeting to go against the planning officer’s recommendation of approval.

An artist's impression of the proposed extension to Brooke House care home, which has been rejected.

An artist's impression of the proposed extension to Brooke House care home, which has been rejected. Picture: Kingsley Healthcare - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

He said: “The extension is completely out of character and not at all sympathetic to the architecture of the village, especially for a conservation area.

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“It has been noted in lots of the objections that the area is used by bats and the extension would have a detrimental impact on the area.”

Michael Banks, a resident who lives at Brooke Gardens, added: “The design is not in keeping with the historic nature of Brooke House and, in fact, one objector said plans for flat roof extensions to the iconic Mackintosh house are nothing short of vandalism.”

Mr Spinks and Mr Banks both highlighted concerns over construction traffic using an “unsuitable” track to access the development, but it was pledged by planning officer, Claire Curtis, that it would not be used.

Putting forward the case for Kingsley, Iain Hill, of Bidwells property consultants, had pointed to a growing need for care accommodation - especially in light of the coronavirus crisis.

“There is an overriding need for care locally and across Norfolk, a position confirmed by Norfolk County Council,” he said. “Increasing the number of beds to 60 is the optimum number of rooms.

“All 26 rooms will provide en-suite wet rooms. The need for these rooms has accelerated as a result of Covid-19 as it allows residents to limit the use of shared bathrooms.”

Reacting to the decision, a spokesman for Kingsley Healthcare said the company was “very disappointed” and intended to appeal.

The statement added: “In drawing up our plans, which would upgrade facilities throughout the home and add 26 luxury bedrooms, we have carefully listened to the views of local stakeholders during more than two years of consultation.

“In supporting our scheme, officers make it abundantly clear there are no planning reasons to object.

“We passionately believe our plans will deliver a superb care facility for the Brooke community and will now be taking our plans to appeal.

“The clear and urgent need for more care beds in the district was highlighted in the officers’ report and underlined by local resident, councillor John Fuller, even though he spoke to oppose our plans.

“Brooke House is a very popular home and we already often have a waiting list for new residents.”

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