Halesworth care home with 100 flats, and new sport pitches approved
- Credit: Feilden+Mawson/Castlemeadow Care
Planning applications for a 54-bed care home with 100 extra care apartments (outline application), along with a grass pitch and artificial (3G) pitch in Halesworth, were yesterday approved unanimously by community leaders.
The Halesworth Middle School site will see the developments go ahead, despite previous objections by Halesworth Town Council.
It is anticipated that 140 residents will live within the proposed apartments and 54 residents will live within the care home. Most of the residents are expected to come from within a five-mile radius of the site.
The applications were approved subject to legal agreements, which East Suffolk Council officers want to include a financial contribution towards healthcare, and a public footpath to Cutlers Hill Surgery.
The financial contribution towards primary healthcare expansion was important as there are concerns about how Cutlers Hill Surgery will cope with the influx of new patients.
Peter Dutton, chair of planning at Halesworth Town Council, said the Halesworth Town Council Neighbourhood Plan showed little demand for one or two-bedroom apartments, such as the ones that will be built.
He added: "Two doctors cover 12,000 patients and they cannot take any more. The problem is not space or square metres. It's finding doctors who will come to a town that is mainly a geriatric area."
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While Halesworth and Blything ward councillor, Tony Goldson, believes it is "well and truly needed", he said: "Halesworth is an ageing population, we can't get away from it. We are the oldest population per capita in Suffolk.
"The population is about 16k, who are all getting older."
He spoke about how adult social care is "desperate", with people being moved out of Halesworth to get the care they need.
Dr Sanjay Kaushal, managing director at Castlemeadow Care, said: "Castlemeadow Care is not like any other organisation, we are not developers. We try to push boundaries in social care, we're not here for a quick buck.
"What we want to do is come up with a service that is going to be fit for the future and it meets the clients' needs."
He believes the apartment offer the service most people want, to be able to stay home and feel safe and secure, while having help hand if needed.
The planning committee also approved a new grass football pitch adjacent to Harrisons Lane and construction of a new artificial football pitch adjacent to the Apollo Youth Centre.
There were concerns from residents over loss of green space and the potential flood risk with the artificial football pitches, due to their non-porous nature.
Sport England supported both applications the care home and apartments being built on a current grass football field, as the new pitches will be of equivalent or better quality and provision compared to the existing fields.
Claire Chenery, chair of Halesworth Town Junior Football Club, does not agree with removal of green space, and says the development will create big problems for the future of some of the teams.
She said: "The football club do not agree with the building development on this site, especially not when there is such a demand for green space. Preventing this from being built on is not a challenge that the people of Halesworth should not be facing."
While Mr Goldson encouraged people to look at the long-term needs of the area saying it is "just a no brainer".