Ipswich council to hear bid for care home on garden centre site

A CGI of the proposed care home for Westerfield Road/Kettlebaston Way.

A CGI of the proposed care home for Westerfield Road/Kettlebaston Way. - Credit: FIRST CARE HOMES

A formal planning application has been lodged with Ipswich council to build a 73-room care home on the site of Victoria Nurseries off Westerfield Road.

First Care Homes has submitted the application after carrying out a public consultation exercise towards the end of the summer. It says that more than 400 people visited its website and 43 representations were made through it.

Most people were happy about the principle of a care home on the site - but there were some concerns about the size of the building, possible parking problems near the home and the prospect of having people coming and going at the site 24 hours a day.

The application is expected to be considered by the borough's planning and development committee early in the new year.

Victoria Nurseries has traded from the site since 1986 and proprietor Ian May said he expected to continue trading until the middle of next year.

He said: "We've known this is coming and I'm planning to continue until June next year and then retire and clear the site. Everyone has been very good to us. Right now I'm busy unloading Christmas trees!"

And he said he would be supply spring plants to his customers for one more year.

Originally Victoria Nurseries was on a much larger site but part of that was redeveloped with new homes. A proposal to build a Waitrose supermarket on the site failed to get the support of planners at the turn of the century - and Mr May's garden centre and farm shop has become a well-known part of the local community.

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The application says the design of the building should fit in with existing homes in the area. It says: "The proposal has been carefully designed to respond to and respect the surrounding residential properties, resulting in a new development that has many benefits and is respectful of its environment in relation to the use, design and appearance."

The access to the new home - which would have 25 parking spaces for staff and visitors - would be through the existing entrance to the garden centre on Kettlebaston Way.

First Care Homes already operates the Park View Care Home near Chantry Park in Ipswich, as well as homes in Cambridge and Hastings on the south coast.

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