Retirement village given green light by councilBy Laura Nightingale
October 15, 2012
PLANS for a major care home and retirement village on a vacant nine-acre site in the heart of Yateley have been approved by Hart District Council.
The core building earmarked for the land south of Blackwater River and east of Sandhurst Road will comprise of 36 standard-care bedrooms and 38 rooms for additional care.
The site will also house facilities including a restaurant, offices, day rooms and a wellness suite.
Prior to the decision, a report by planning officer Daryl Phillips admitted the council would have to go outside of its own planning framework to approve the proposals.
“It is considered that the benefits to the council’s five-year land supply of providing the care village development on this site, coupled with the current oversupply of office space in the district, are sufficient to justify a departure to the Local Plan and as such the principle of the development is acceptable.
“Although the site is located in the open countryside and is designated as a strategic gap, it is an allocated site in the current plan and has planning permission for a leisure and business use.
“Therefore, providing that the nature of this particular proposal does not adversely harm the character of the area, it is considered that, in principle, this residential scheme is acceptable in line with the requirements of the national planning policy framework.”
However, the proposal submitted by Anchor Trust and Hamlin Estates attracted objections from some residents worried about extra traffic, flood risk and light pollution.
Some also complained about losing a footpath along the river as a result of the development.
Sandhurst Road resident David Cooke wrote: “I think the biggest concern immediate neighbours have is flooding.
“We do not believe the balancing pond is going to work as well as intended. The area’s high water-table may well mean that the pond will store less water than envisaged.”
He said traffic-calming measures were needed, such as a small roundabout at the Weybridge Mead junction.
Elizabeth Perry, of Kings Glade, wrote: “The intended plans will mean a loss of privacy for the residents of Kings Glade whose properties border the planned development.
“A simple treeline will not suffice as these will lose their cover during the autumn and winter seasons.”
A wildlife pond is proposed to be located towards the entrance of the site and would form part of the sustainable drainage system.
A total of 94 car parking spaces will be provided with a number of those being located around the core building.
A new junction would be built on Sandhurst Road to access the site.
The site has a historical use for the purposes of sand quarrying and, more recently, planning permission was granted for offices and leisure use, although not implemented.
Pegasus Planning Group said on behalf of Anchor Trust and Hamlin Estates: “The care bedrooms is an important component of the development as it offers all residents the opportunity to stay in the village and in their community if their health reaches a stage where they need such care or end of life needs.
“There are four types of care unit available to residents: care bedrooms; close-care units; extra-care units; and linked extra-care units.”
All residents will sign up to a care package which is designed specifically to meet their care needs.
The application could still be considered by the full council since it falls outside Hart’s development blueprint.