Plans to extend Sidmouth care home after ‘low-budget’ changes ‘obliterated grandeur’

Arcot House, Sidmouth. Ref shs 7744-07-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Arcot House, Sidmouth. Ref shs 7744-07-14AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

A self-contained flat at a listed Sidmouth care home will be demolished to make way for a five-bedroom extension if a planning application gets approved.

The ‘outstanding’-rated Arcot House, a former Georgian manor house, was recently taken over by Doveleigh Care Ltd and last year was a finalist in the National Care Awards.

Plans say the new owners are gradually and carefully redecorating the property after previous ‘low-budget’ extensions ‘all but obliterated its grandeur’.

Under the proposals, a one-bed annexe will be replaced with a new single-storey structure that will increase the number of residents’ rooms from 22 to 26.

Housing for a lift would also be constructed, as would a replacement for the colonnade that ‘any self-respecting member of the ruling classes’ would have built on their home.

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The application says: “Since its early 19th Century flourishing, the house has gradually lost its period style and become progressively more prosaic and utilitarian.

“Architecturally, the building’s worst times were during the 1920s and 1950s as various large and utilitarian extensions were added to provide accommodation, dining, kitchen and ancillary service spaces required (latterly) for the house to function as an elderly persons’ home.

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“This was probably the time that the substantial three-column colonnade and railings over the main entrance door were lost.

“These largely low-budget extensions and changes have succeeded in all but obliterating the grandeur that Arcot House most probably had when it was first constructed.”

The application says rising property prices have seen many care homes revert back to private residences, resulting in increased demand – but other factors mean the businesses are vulnerable to failure.

It adds: “Increasing the intensification of the business on this site will help to iron out the effect of such variables, therefore providing a more secure home for the ladies and gentlemen who reside here and the people who work on the site.”

Residents are visited on average every four to six weeks, so plans say the development would only result in a small increase in traffic. The number of employees would increase from 24 to 28.

East Devon District Council will decide the fate of the plans, which will also require listed building consent.

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