Ferndown dementia home turned down by planners
A PROPOSED 44-bed dementia care home on a site on the corner of Carroll Avenue and Ringwood Road in Ferndown was rejected unanimously by East Dorset District Council on Tuesday.
The planning application submitted by Mr D Crofts was for the opposite side of Carroll Avenue from the site where two care home applications have recently been rejected on appeal, and next to the Ringwood Road care home Thornfield which has recently had a large rear single-storey extension.
It would have meant the demolition of the Ickle Angels day nursery in Ringwood Road and its neighbour at 430 Ringwood Road, where planning permission was granted in 2008 for a single-storey nursery extension almost linking the two.
The replacement three-storey L shaped building would as a result occupy a similar footprint, but be of considerably greater mass, and the application came with a recommended officer refusal on the grounds that its height and mass would have an adverse effect on the special character area of Carroll Avenue, and particularly of its immediate neighbour, 5 Carroll Avenue, occupied by Mr K C Humphryes, whose letter of objection was one of more than 30.
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He said there had been no commercial logic for the day nursery extension and accused Mr Crofts of 'an exercise to increase the footprint'.
He said: “I deplore the fact that the trees and sylvan features have been irreplaceably removed from the site and object to the height of the structure which will contribute to visual intrusion and wrap around and dwarf my bungalow.
“Mr Croft has been granted permission to run a commercially operated children’s home business for 58 children having convinced the planning authority that it satisfied an identified need for Ferndown,” he said, asking whether the need for children's nurseries had now been superseded by a more pressing need for dementia homes.
Mr Crofts, who said that the day nursery would be relocated to a less residential area if the scheme was approved, argued the need for dementia care, and said that the development was smaller than the nearby McCarthy & Stone care home and others in the vicinity.
The planning committee also received over 50 letters of support from across a wide area for the proposal, but was told that the majority were the result of the applicant sending a standard letter to people, with stamped addressed return envelope, so they could add their address and signature.
Councillor Toni Coombs, describing the application as "unneighbourly", said: "The applicant has given no planning reasons for supporting it, and planning is not a popularity vote."
And Paul Timberlake, vice-chairman of Ferndown Town Council's planning committee, said it was overdevelopment of the residential site, and result in a huge three-storey building whose bulk and scale would dominate and be out of keeping with the immediate area of "mature properties in spacious grounds with a sylvan setting".
Councillor Derek Boyt was quick to propose refusal, saying he could understand the reluctance of the town council and local residents for the special character of Carroll Avenue to change.
And Councillor Robin Cook was equally quick to second his proposal, saying: "I do not disagree that we must improve dementia facilities throughout the UK, but it is how we deliver them that matters."