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New 80-bed care home given green light despite neighbours fearing it's 'too big'

A new 80-bed care home is set to be built on the site of a previous facility operated by Staffordshire County Council.

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The land at Carter Avenue, Bilbrook, previously occupied by Bilbrook House. Photo: Google

Macc Care Ltd was granted permission to build the new home, which will specialise in caring for residents with dementia, by South Staffordshire Council’s planning committee this week.

Concerns were raised however about the size of the proposed development on the former Bilbrook House site, as well as parking issues in the area. The new building at Carter Avenue, Bilbrook, is set to be two-storey and part one-storey.

Facilities for residents will include a hairdressing salon, cinema, eight lounges, a library and an enclosed water garden to the centre of the building . There will also be staff facilities and 28 car parking spaces, as well as designated areas for ambulance and delivery van parking.

David Onions, who spoke in support of the plans at Tuesday’s meeting, said: “This scheme is a state of the art care home, in a highly sustainable location on a brownfield site, and it will deliver 60 additional jobs within the care facility. One consequence of using brownfield sites is it reduces the need to use greenfield or Green Belt sites.

“The scheme will provide additional care spaces at a time when the district’s population is rapidly ageing and there is an increasing need for such facilities. South Staffordshire’s latest housing market assessment cites a need for 400 additional registered care places by 2040; this scheme will make a valuable contribution towards meeting that need.

“The applicant has a proven track record of delivering well-designed care homes. The design specifically caters for those who are suffering with dementia and provides a functional amenity space including a safe and secure courtyard which residents can access directly.

“This amenity space, combined with the fact that all rooms exceed the nationally-described space standards, and the range of facilities provided on-site, mean that residents will be able to have the best possible quality of life. A sufficient number of parking spaces will be provided to prevent on-street parking and the site is accessible by public transport.”

South Staffordshire Council received three letters supporting the plans, saying that the facility would help local families by enabling residents needing care to stay closer to home. But there were also five objections submitted, with concerns raised about increased noise, light pollution from a car park lighting scheme and the new building’s location closer to neighbouring homes than the previous development.

Pat Hutchinson, who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, said: “The building will be too big for the site. There will not be ample parking space; not only for the staff a facility of this size will need but also for visiting professionals.

“The residents of Carter Avenue have to deal with roadside parking from people leaving cars all day and using the train station, and from cars picking up and dropping off children at two schools, which makes it difficult to leave homes at these times. Including a courtyard garden will also impact on parking issues, leaving even less space.

“The building itself will impact on us personally as it will be built directly in front of our houses and be no further than eight metres from our front doors. Staff at the home will be able to see into our front rooms and bedrooms, therefore our privacy will be invaded.

“It will also cut out any sunlight from our properties. While residents are not opposed to this facility, we would ask the planning committee to reject it on its size.”

Eight committee members voted to approve the application, with four against. Bilbrook ward councillor Gary Burnett abstained from voting.

He said: “I’m really conflicted on this one. A single-storey home would be an ideal scenario and I can see the real benefits – it would be a really good use of the site

“We do need care homes in Staffordshire and we need one in Bilbrook, but I’m conflicted because of the height and parking. This is a contentious application because we have people for and against it.”