Former 36-bed nursing home could be converted into new homes
- Credit: RICHARD CORNWELL
Plans have been submitted to convert one of Felixstowe's most imposing Victorian seafront buildings to create 10 new homes.
The redundant 36-bedroom three-storey detached St Mary's Nursing Home, in Undercliff Road East, would be partly demolished and rebuilt to create six apartments and four houses, with car parking and a new shared cartlodge.
Documents submitted by Peter Wells Architects, on behalf of the owners, to East Suffolk Council say St Mary’s closed down in September 2018 due to the company owning it going into liquidation, and the building now requires a new use.
The property dates back to at least the late 1870s when it was known as Harland House and from 1925 for many years was a Barnardo's children's home. It became the Alice Kirkland Nursing Home in the 1980s and St Mary's Nursing Home in 1996.
The documents say it was unviable at the time of closure with only half of the rooms occupied due to a decline in the sector and reduced government funding for socially-funded care home places.
There have been no offers on either The Leopold Nursing Home - its sister home - or St Mary’s Nursing Home since their closure as a going concern, only interest in the land.
It had been hoped to find another care provider to take on the home but the current need was for homes that could provide a modern environment.
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Peter Wells Architects said: "The feedback received was that as the home was in a Conservation Area, the solution would be the bulldoze the home down and start again to create the type of building that suits that market.
"The offers therefore that were tendered to the existing owners reflected this extreme level of work to make the site viable, and as such, they could not entertain the few offers on a financial basis."
Under the redevelopment proposals, the 20th century rear extension will be demolished to make way for four new houses - three two-bed and one three-bed - with the original building then converted to six apartments, one one-bed, three two-bed and two three-bed.
The architects said: "Other uses for the building have been explored. However, the building has proven to be either not the right layout, not big enough, or the costs would be too significant, to support conversion to a different use."
Felixstowe Town Council has objected to the proposals and recommended refusal. While not against the principle of residential use, its concerns include overlooking, access and amenity space and says it is "unacceptable" that no affordable homes are featured.