BED blocking problems caused by care home closures and an ageing population could be eased with a new development in Fleet.

Sunrise Assisted Living Ltd wants to build an assisted living complex for the frail and elderly on land opposite the Church Road car park.

Sunrise operates more than 350 homes, but mostly in America. It currently runs three assisted living homes in this country. The nearest, at Virginia Water, was recently nominated for a Health Care Design Award.

“Our homes are built using the highest quality materials and design, are surrounded by attractive landscaped gardens and reflect the local style of architecture,” said Steve Bucknell, development manager of Sunrise Assisted Living Ltd.

“They give the feeling of a grand domestic home, not an institution. Our aim is to make residents feel that this is their home, and that our staff are the working guests in their home, not the other way around.”

Sunrise always seeks to recruit locally and the development, which includes 66 en-suite bedrooms, numerous lounges and activity rooms, will create around 60 new jobs for care workers, managers, chefs, housekeepers and maintenance staff.

“Each resident has his or her own en-suite bedroom and some units are designed for couples,” said Mr Bucknell.

“All meals are cooked on the premises and served in an elegant dining room, and a bistro area serves hot and cold drinks to residents and their guests at any time.

“Residents will be offered at least five different activities each day, including a trip out in the home’s own minibus.

“The application comes at a time when Hampshire County Council is attempting to tackle the huge bed-blocking problems caused by the combination of care home closures and an ageing population, and the government has voiced its support for diversity, choice and quality in care for the elderly.”

The Fleet and Church Crookham planning advisory group discussed the application on Monday.

“Although the plans are architecturally attractive and there is an undoubted need for this kind of assisted living accommodation in Fleet, we have five concerns which amount to an overall objection,” said group chairman Cllr Denis Gotel.

“Our main concerns are over-filling of the site with one large building and insufficient parking.