Residents up in arms over 'monstrosity' care home plan for Victorian villas

Objectors up in arms over plans to demolish two empty care homes to make way for a new modern facility have raised a 100-signature petition.

Wilfrid House
Wilfrid House

Proposals were lodged last year for a new 71-bed care home to replace the unoccupied Victorian villas known as Wilford House and neighbouring Abbeyfield House, in Rowley Bank, Stafford.

Some residents in Rising Brook are calling on the borough council to reject the scheme over concerns that the houses, which are not listed properties, were due to be replaced by a "monstrosity".

Meanwhile applicant Artisan, of the Avery care home group, has confirmed that it has recently been carrying out work to remove asbestos from the sites.

Campaigning resident Jenny Dodd, of St John's Road, said: "I have lived behind the proposed site for 30 years so I am not against care homes. Wilford House and Abbeyfield House are two large houses which many of us feel are part of Stafford's heritage.

"If they were converted properly they would make beautiful buildings. They should be kept.

"If this plan gets the green light and the houses are knocked down, we are worried they will be replaced by this huge monstrosity of a modern building that will be out of character with the buildings in this community.

"We're not overlooked by the houses, but we are worried that anyone on the upper floors of the planned care home will be looking out of the windows and straight into our homes.

"We have requested that the application be called in to the committee for discussion, but that has not happened. The plans were submitted about a year ago and we'd like to know what's going on."

She said there wer also concerns that workmen were visiting the houses and that a number of old trees had been cut down despite the proposals not yet being aired by Stafford's planning committee.

Rowley ward representative Councillor Carolyn Trowbridge said there were arguments for and against the proposals: "I have called in the application for discussion. No date has been set yet, but it will be soon.

"Because I've called it in, I can't vote at committee, but I will be able to speak against it on behalf of my local residents."

Avery stated: "The work that has been going on is for the removal of asbestos. You may be aware that there has been quite a bit of anti-social behaviour in the area and the work is also being carried out to deter break-ins and squatters.

"We are making the site safe. The council's planning enforcement unit is aware of the work that is being done."

The application said the Rowley Bank site has been identified to address a pressing local need for elderly care provision. If approved the new care home will offer state-of-the-art facilities with 24-hour support and care for the frail elderly.

Avery also operates the Crispin Court Care Home on the A34 Stone Road, also in Stafford.

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