Plans for former Green Close care home in Sidford recommended for refusal

Churchill Retirement Living plans to demolish the former Green Close care home and build 39 apartmen

Churchill Retirement Living plans to demolish the former Green Close care home and build 39 apartments - Credit: Archant

Fresh plans to demolish a former Sidford care home to make way for sheltered housing for the elderly will go before planning bosses next week.

Officers have recommended the resubmitted application for the Green Close site be refused, despite it including a contribution towards ‘affordable’ housing that is ten times the previous amount offered.

In August 2017, a planning inspector threw out Churchill Retirement Living’s appeal against the non-determination by East Devon District Council of its plans for the former 23-bed care home in Sidford.

The new application includes 39 one and two-bedroom apartments where as the previous scheme was made up of only 36. The plans also include an off-site contribution of £423,576. A planning officer recommended the application be refused as it still did not include ‘an adequate amount of affordable housing’ or a ‘provision of an overage clause’.

In a report, the officer noted the scheme made no provision for on-site affordable housing but offered an off-site contribution below the £654,870 required to comply with the Local Plan.

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It said the ‘high need’ for affordable housing in Sidmouth ‘outweighed the need’ for seeing the site developed in its proposed form for older persons housing.

Town councillors previously slammed Churchill’s last offer of £41,000 as an ‘insult’ to Sidmouth – claiming the developer stood to ‘make millions’ from the development. East Devon District Council’s development management committee will debate the plans at its next meeting on Tuesday (May 1).

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The scheme includes communal facilities, landscaping, parking for 24 vehicles, and access to the Drakes Avenue site.

In its application, the developer said: “The proposed development is an excellent opportunity to provide the redevelopment of an underutilised site within Sidford, making better use of a brownfield site in a highly sustainable location. The proposal would provide much needed retirement accommodation for the elderly in an attractive and safe environment.

“It is not envisions that the proposal would lead to any loss of residential amenity.

“The proposal would contribute to the council meeting its housing policy objective in respect of delivery of private retirement housing.”

The Green Close care home was built in 1971 but closed in 2014 after Devon County Council cutbacks.

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