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Campaigners welcome officers’ view to reject care home plans

Plans for Nowton Court Nursing Home ANL-160601-155326001
Plans for Nowton Court Nursing Home ANL-160601-155326001

A council are set to decide the future of controversial plans to build a 60-bedroom nursing home near Nowton Park.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Development Control Committee has been recommended to refuse the proposal due to the ‘excessive scale, bulk and massing’ of the building and its, in places, ‘unitarian design’.

However, officers agree there is ‘an accepted need for this proposal’ and that it would offer a ‘tangible economic benefit’ to the area.

The plans, submitted by Heritage Manor Ltd, have faced fierce opposition with objections made from Nowton Parish Council, the Bury St Edmunds Society and nearby residents.

Protect Nowton Park, a group campaigning against the plans, has gained more than 400 followers on twitter.

A spokesman for the group welcomed the officers’ recommendation for refusal.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see that developers don’t always get their way,” he said.

“The problem with it is its design and scale, they are just trying to fit too much into a small space.”

A petition against the plans has gathered more than 150 signatures.

The proposal has received support from Nowton Grange Residents’ Association and West Suffolk Hospital’s Chief Executive who stressed the importance of dementia care facilities in the area.

Simon Patient, Managing Director of Heritage Manor, said: “We have worked hard with council officers to address the concerns raised, but compromises to the overall size of the building is limited by the minimum size requirements to be financially viable.

“We note that the planner’s recommendation remains a ‘balanced one’, recognising the clear need for suitable accommodation for the elderly as the population ages.

“The support of the local hospital also recognises that its nearby location would help greatly in relieving the pressure on beds and provide a welcome respite to many in need of tailored, bespoke accommodation, which is lacking in the area. There is a significant unmet need for such care. We also feel that this is an exciting design focused on maximising the benefits of the surrounding beauty of the park and its trees, which we are keen to preserve, and which addresses the longer term needs of our existing residents.”

A decision will be made on the plans at the committee meeting on Thursday April 7.