'Care village' rejection urged after strong objections
- Credit: PEGASUS GROUP / CHRISTCHURCH LAND AND ESTATES MELTON LTD
Planners are urging community leaders to reject proposals for a “care village” near Woodbridge featuring an 80-bedroom care home and 72 assisted care bungalows.
They say it would mean placing 150 new homes for the elderly in the countryside and that it is not the right place for the project.
Woodridge Care Village Ltd wants to build the homes, to be occupied by those aged 75 and over, alongside various community facilities including a club house/café and bowling green for use by the wider public.
It says the development in Yarmouth Road, Melton, will help with the acute shortage of specialist accommodation for the area’s growing ageing population, and could also create 180 new full and part time jobs.
Tony Prendergast, managing director at Woodbridge Care Village Ltd, said the aim would be to replicate the company's successful development at Carlton Hall to create a care village, where care is tailored to each resident, providing year-round specialist care, as well as facilities such as a coffee shop and daily activities facilitated by its own minibus.
He said: "As a care operator, we do everything possible to provide all services for our residents, including healthcare provisions.
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"Alongside much-needed specialist accommodation, we will provide a range of quality facilities for use by existing and future residents, designed to encourage integration and combat social isolation, whilst also ensuring that the care village is as self-sufficient as possible. This will include a new bowling green, café/club house and a dedicated minibus service for care home staff and residents.
"There is a chronic shortage of retirement accommodation within this location, with the proportion of over 65s projected to increase significantly in the coming years. It is important, in my opinion, that we respond to this need and provide elderly residents with the highest quality of care as their needs adapt over time.
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"We hope that the council approves the plans and enable us to deliver this fantastic care village that can support the needs of the area’s growing elderly population.”
Melton Care Village would be built on a 15-acre site currently pasture and a disused quarry.
East Suffolk Council's south area planning committee will discuss the plans on March 30 but officers are recommending refusal. Melton and Ufford parish councils have both objected, as has the Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG over concerns regarding capacity in the local health care system.
Some 130 comments were received - 81 objections, 45 in support and four neutral.
Planning case officer Rachel Smith said the proposed development would be on a greenfield site in the countryside, outside the defined Settlement Boundary of Melton village and was contrary to national and local policy, including the Melton Neighbourhood Plan.
While not isolated, the development would not be accessible to residents, staff and visitors except by private motor vehicle.