Former care home could be turned into supported housing

The former High Dene care home in Lowestoft, before it closed in 2015. Picture: George Ryan

The former High Dene care home in Lowestoft, before it closed in 2015. - Credit: George Ryan

A former care home that closed five years ago could be turned into supported housing for people with complex needs.

Plans for a supported housing scheme at the former High Dene care home in Lowestoft are being recommended for approval by planning officers, despite more than 50 objections being lodged.

East Suffolk Council’s planning committee North will meet via Zoom on Tuesday, December 8, to vote on the change of use plans "from a residential care home to large HMO (Sui-Generis use category) providing supported housing."

The former High Dene care home on Park Road, Lowestoft closed in 2015.

Now a supported housing facility proposed by The Stone Foundation - to be managed by Mavam Group Ltd - would see the accommodation supervised 24 hours a day.

The application, from Ipswich-based Mavam, comes after similar plans for five properties in Cleveland Road, Kirkley were rejected by East Suffolk Council last year.

This change-of-use proposal would not see any material changes to the building, with the 13 bedrooms retained.

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A planning report to councillors states: "This proposal is for a supported housing scheme rather than an unrestricted HMO."

Lowestoft town council has recommended refusal of the application, while 56 letters of objection were received.

Among the numerous concerns raised were fears of an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour and increased noise levels.

With residents claiming the area is oversaturated for one-person accommodation and supported housing, the planning report states: "The site is situated outside of any of the flat saturation zones."

It concludes: "The proposed HMO would provide supported housing accommodation to be managed by Mavam Supported Housing (MSH), which would be staffed 24 hours a day.

"Suffolk County Council have confirmed that there is a need for specialist supported living accommodation for people with a range of disabilities and it is therefore considered that this justifies 'exceptional circumstances' required for an HMO.

"Furthermore, the need for such accommodation is likely to be in greater demand in the wake of Covid-19."

It recommends approval, subject to six conditions being met.

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