Care home plans for garden centre resubmitted

Victoria Nurseries in Ipswich

Victoria Nurseries could become one of First Care Homes - Credit: Google

A bid to build a retirement home on the site of a popular garden centre is back on the agenda after plans were initially withdrawn.

First Care Homes is hoping to demolish Victoria Nurseries in Kettlebaston Way, Ipswich so it can turn the site into a 70 bedroom, three-storey care home with landscaped gardens, hard standing and car parking. 

Its first bid in February for the site, then proposed to be 73-bedrooms, received widespread opposition from the community and councillors, who felt the height of the proposed care home was too tall

First Care Homes new proposal, submitted on September 6, shows the new building would be of similar height to the surrounding homes. 

It has also increased parking space, from 25 to 30, and the access and gardens have been amended following comments from Suffolk Highways.

ADG Architects, the care home's agent, said the new plan results "in an improved scheme that will provide the client with a building that will meet their brief, operational requirements and comply to CQC legislation without exceeding the site constraints and local planning policies". 

It says First Care Homes also aims to meet "future and current" demand for care facilities in the area. 

Victoria Nurseries has also submitted a planning application to extend their use of the site through to December 2022, covering the next two Christmas periods.

Ian May at Victoria Nurseries

Ian May of Victoria Nurseries is retiring - Credit: Archant

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Owner of Victoria Nurseries, Ian May, said he is hoping to retire soon but wants to continue to serve the public who relied on him during the pandemic.

The 75-year-old added: "I have been planning to make my retirement for years. But the community has wanted us to keep going. People still prefer to use us than a supermarket."

He said his four part time staff have been "fantastic throughout the pandemic" and people value the location.

Mr May also explained that customers had urged him to keep running until the planning committee had made a decision over fears the site could become a vacant "tipping ground".

The business owner is hoping a decision is made so he can start "considering his options" for retirement before committing to anything.