Plan for dementia ‘care village’

tis  The NMR building.  (120502M4)
tis The NMR building. (120502M4)

A NEW 94-bed care home with facilities for dementia patients will be built in Harrogate if an ambitious scheme is passed by planners this week.

Springfield Healthcare wants to create a “care village” on the site of the National Milk Records offices on Skipton Road.

It established a similar project with the 100-bed Belmont House in Starbeck, before selling it for almost £14m in 2007.

Peter Ford, from architects SDA, told the Advertiser: “There’s a massive shortage of care facilities in Harrogate and the site is not really suitable for any use other than care.

“The objective is to create a much nicer lifestyle experience for people.

“It’s slightly bigger than what you would expect in a normal care home.

“The client has been very keen to develop it as a care village – it’s quite different.”

The home would care for residents with mixed needs, including early-onset dementia, and incorporate rooms for family members, space for doctors and dentistry, and social facilities, including cinema rooms.

“There would also be quite considerable day-centre facilities there for people in the local community to use,” Mr Ford said.

“That has been one of the main thrusts of the design.”

It would create 45 full-time and 75 part-time jobs.

But in his report, planner Gerard Walsh urged members to turn down the plans, saying the council’s policy was to retain land for business use unless there was a strong argument against this.

“The proposed development would harm the supply of business land and premises in the district and in the long term would harm the economic performance and sustainable economic growth of the district,” he said.

Springfield’s application for a 102-bed care home on the same site was rejected in December 2011.

The revised plans include fewer rooms, a smaller third floor and two storeys – rather than three – in some sections facing Woodfield Drive.

While recommending refusal, Mr Walsh did acknowledge that several of the council’s earlier misgivings had been addressed. “The impacts of the proposed development on the character of the area and the setting of nearby listed buildings are now considered to be acceptable as are the impacts on the amenity of surrounding residential properties,” he said.

The building would have a floor area of 6,173m sq, compared to 1,900m sq at present, with the existing building being demolished.

A decision on the proposals will be made by the council’s planning committee on Thursday.

l What do you think of the plans? Should the site be kept for business use or turned into a care home? Email or write to the Editor at 1 Cardale Park, Harrogate, HG3 1RZ.