MP urges rethink of care home plans

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15 Nov 2013

Newcastle’s Labour MP Paul Farrelly is calling on Staffordshire County Council to rethink its plans for a four-storey care home for the elderly on land adjacent to a conservation area at May Bank.

Mr Farrelly says the Council’s plans to create an ‘Extracare’ complex at May Place constitute an over-development that would harm the visual amenity of neighbouring properties and lead to the loss of mature trees.

The Council is currently consulting on proposals to demolish its former care home at The Homestead to enable developers to put a new centre in its place on a site that overlooks the busy junction of Brampton Road and Sandy Lane.

The controversial proposals would mean the replacement of the existing low-level building with one that rises to four-storeys and includes a steeply sloping roof.

Mr Farrelly said, however, the scale of the development and the topography of the land had not been reflected fairly in the sketches drawn up by the Council in its consultations.

“To infer that development will be no higher than the two existing buildings does not properly take into account the topography and situation of other neighbours, for instance on Brampton Gardens to the rear,” Mr Farrelly said.

“From the sketches it is also not possible to assess what effect this, or any proposed replanting or landscaping, will have on the visual amenity locally and over what timescale,” he said, adding that he also had “unmet concerns” about the design of the proposed building and access to the site so close to the Brampton Road roundabout and the adjoining the local conservation area.

“While facilities for dementia sufferers, through the County’s planned lease at the complex, are welcome, there is no compelling case that they need to be located here, rather than elsewhere,” he said.

Mr Farrelly said there were more preferable sites in Newcastle for an Extracare development of the size and scale proposed. One of the most obvious locations, he said, was the former Recreation Centre at Knutton and development there would bring much-needed footfall to local shops which would, in turn, regenerate the village.

“I would urge the County, developers and the Borough planners to consider this as a strong alternative instead,” he added.