Care home plans to go ahead

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A DERELICT pub on a main road into Ripon is set to be demolished to make way for a care home, despite objections from planners.

Borough councillors this week went against the advice of the council’s own planning officers and in a close eight-to-seven vote decided to approve plans for the Wheatsheaf Inn on Harrogate Road.

A conservation officers’ report had said the building proposed was too big and would amount to an over-intensive use of the site.

The officials were also concerned that the building would detract from the street scene on a major route into the city.

However, when the application went before the planning committee on Tuesday, October 11 councillors decided not to follow the officials’ advice and granted permission.

The move has been welcomed by city representatives on both the borough and county councils.

Coun Stuart Martin represents Ripon Minster on Harrogate Borough Council and sits on the planning committee. He voted to approve the plans.

“This is good news for Ripon. We want to get the message out that Ripon is open for business we can do that by tidying up this approach to the city.”

County Coun Andrew Williams, who sits on both Ripon City Council and North Yorkshire County Council, has been campaigning for improvements to derelict buildings around Ripon, including the Wheatsheaf Inn.

He said: “I am delighted with the news, and I could not understand the officers’ recommendation for refusal.

“They said a three storey building would be unsightly, but what they thought of the front of a derelict building I don’t know.”

“It’s going to tidy up the entrance to the city, it’s going to provide jobs for local people and put money into the local economy, and it’s going to provide opportunities for local builders.

“I am keen to see work start as soon as possible, and one of the first things I want to see is the demolition of the pub so we can get rid of the dereliction there.”

The plans were submitted by Blue Brick Healthcare and CEO Les Chaplin said he was delighted with the positive result after a “long and drawn out process.”

The care centre will cost around £5.75million to construct and developers hope to spend around £4.75million with Ripon firms and suppliers, Mr Chaplin said, although dates for the start of building work will not be confirmed until after a meeting with architects in November.

Once open the centre will generate £900,000 annually for the area’s economy and create 80 jobs, he added.

The news comes only two weeks after planners gave an initial go-ahead for a budget hotel in the city.

A planning committee meeting on Tuesday, September 27 granted outline planning permission for a 45-bed hotel to be built by Canalside Developments, owners of Ripon Business Park, on Boroughbridge road.