Plans to demolish and replace Harrogate care home with three-storey facility spark 'overdevelopment' concerns

Plans to bulldoze a care home to make way for a larger facility have been met with objections from neighbours and Harrogate Civic Society.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 12:47 pm

Harrogate firm Angela Swift Developments is seeking planning permission to demolish Tate House on Wetherby Road and build a 90-bed care home for people with visual impairment, dementia and respite care in its place.

It described the proposed three-storey development as a “state-of-the-art” facility which would cost £15million and create up to 70 full and part-time jobs.

However, the plans have sparked complaints from neighbours who fear they could lose their privacy and be overlooked by the 12-metre high building.

This is what the new three-storey care home could look like if plans are approved.

One objector said in a letter to Harrogate Borough Council: “This proposal is unacceptable in so many ways. It is a gross overdevelopment of the site which would leave inadequate amenity space for residents.

“The three-storey aspect is overbearing and overwhelming and quite out of scale with the immediate private residential areas.”

Members of Harrogate Civic Society have also raised the same concerns and asked for the plans to be redrawn with more consideration given to neighbouring properties.

In a letter to the council, group member Henry Pankhurst said: “The proposed building is a great deal larger and more dominant than the existing Tate House. It is a full three storeys high, plus roof, over the whole footprint.

“Currently Tate House is largely single-storey with a flat roof. The front of the proposed building is set a little further back from Wetherby Road, but is considerably longer. Therefore the space afforded between the building and the several St. Clements Road houses is very greatly reduced.”

Mr Pankhurst also flagged the issue of bumper-to-bumper traffic on Wetherby Road which he said “should not be allowed to worsen” under the proposals.

He added: “The photographs included in the current application show Wetherby Road almost without traffic. This is of course not typical.

“The road is either busy, very busy or at a standstill throughout most of the day.

“Considering the current traffic flow and the poor air quality at the Woodlands Junction, there is no doubt that realistically, capacity for more traffic does not exist.”

Angela Swift Developments bought Tate House from sight-loss charity Royal National Institute of Blind People for £1.6million in June last year and has since run it as a joint venture with Burlington Care.

The planning application was submitted in October and if approved the company hopes construction will begin in autumn this year with completion in late 2022.

Managing director Angela Swift said: “We are delighted to be developing in our home town, and we understand the requirements of the community very well.

“The pandemic has demonstrated even more the urgent need for facilities such as this, providing fully en suite accommodation for residents to be able to isolate within their own rooms if required, as well as having access to outdoor space.

“The design takes into account the needs of care home staff too, to help them work safely and efficiently.”

Harrogate Borough Council is expected to make a decision on the plans by spring.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter