Erection of 3 storey 66 no. bed residential care home for the elderly with associated works
The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer which provided details of an application for Erection of 3 storey 66no. bed residential care home for the elderly with associated works on Land west of Durhamgate Development Centre, Hay Lane, Spennymoor (for copy see file of minutes).
The Senior Planning Officer provided a detailed presentation of the report and included site location plans, aerial photographs and photographs of the site.
Ms T Spencer, Agent, addressed the Committee with regards to the concerns raised by Adult and Health Services about the need for a care home. The vacancies quoted were across the County but the needs assessment that had been conducted by the Applicant was over a 3 mile radius. There were another five care homes in the area with 1 or 2 vacancies, but from the analysis of population in the catchment area and the number of homes in the area, a further 66 beds had been identified.
The company specialised in building care homes which had given them a wealth of experience
From the research that had been done they had indicated that this was a suitable area for a care home and would provide an additional choice of accommodation to meet the needs of the growing elderly population.
Ms Spencer advised that there were other benefits that the development would bring to the area such as the provision of 50-60 jobs.
The Senior Planning Officer reminded Members that competition between care providers and viability was not a material planning consideration, so although the comments made were accepted, they could not be considered when determining the application.
Councillor Boyes referred to comments in the report from Children and Adult Services that referred to the occupancy of ‘existing DCC care homes’ as he was under the impression that there weren’t any.
The Planning and Development Solicitor advised that in terms of the Committees assessment of the application, Members should not have regard to the comments that were not associated with a material planning consideration.
Councillor Boyes questioned whether the comment should be in the report and the Planning Development Solicitor advised that it was not an issue that would prevent the Committee from determining the application.
In response to a question from Councillor Atkinson, Ms Taylor advised that from the analysis of the area, there had been a number of different age brackets identified and a standard national industry formula used to determine the number of beds, and then a figure was generated based on the need within the area.
Councillor Atkinson confirmed his support for the application.
Councillor Brown advised that the development included the installation of solar panels and ground pumps and commented that the application was supporying the aging population of County Durham and seconded the proposal.
That the application be APPROVED subject to the completion of a unilateral undertaking pursuant to S106 to secure a £7700.00 financial contribution and the conditions outlined in the report.