Watton care home plans in doubt

PUBLISHED: 16:01 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:27 08 July 2010

PLANS to convert one of Watton's oldest buildings into a 40 room care home could be in doubt because of serious objections to the scheme.

PLANS to convert one of Watton's oldest buildings into a 40 room care home could be in doubt because of serious objections to the scheme.

An application was submitted in early September to convert Beechwood House in High Street into a retirement complex.

The plan, which has been put forward on behalf of a company called Jetspark, would see the historic house kept but the current side wing and outbuildings demolished to make way for a C-shaped extension.

The application states the complex would comprise of 40 suited resident rooms, oversized principle resident lounges, a dining room, and secondary quiet rooms.

But documents contained in the planning files held at Breckland Council reveal Norfolk Property Services, acting on behalf of Norfolk County Council, has raised serious concerns about the proposal.

In a single page letter Ann O'Leary, development manager for care homes at Norfolk Property Services, states: “Analysis of the provision of care homes in March of this year indicates that there is no shortage of long stay care provision in Watton and the surrounding area with their being 124 places registered to provide personal care (excluding the Norfolk County Council care home) and an additional 30 to provide nursing care.

“The people most likely to be looking for residential care in the future are people with significant levels of dementia.

“There are guidelines for designing care settings for people with dementia to promote their wellbeing and the individual and communal internal and external space and layout of the proposed scheme is not in keeping with these. Nor is it in keeping with the county council's aspirations for the standard of future residential care accommodation.”

The letter goes on to question whether the care home would be appropriate for short term care and states “Watton is possibly not the most appropriate location in Breckland”.

The response follows an objection from Watton Town Council in September in which councillors expressed a number of concerns including “the excessive number of small rooms”.

The application is due to be decided by the planning authorities at Breckland in the coming months.

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