Residents hit out at bespoke care village plans near Harrogate town centre

Harcourt Road - Google Maps
Harcourt Road - Google Maps

Local residents have hit out at plans to build a new bespoke care village, including a 101-bedroom care home, near Harrogate town centre.

Springfield Heathcare Group (SHG) has submitted its application to Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) to build the care home as well as 14 'extra care' apartments.

The care home, planned for Harcourt Road, will provide high-intensity 24/7 care and also lower levels of care, including rehabilitation and respite.

The apartments, which will be reserved for the over-65's, will form part of the wider care village and offer a lifestyle independent of the care home.

However, the company said it will have the 'comfort blanket' of the care facilities directly adjacant, should they ever be needed.

The application has already attracted a number of objections from local residents on HBC's planning portal who have hit out over the height and impact of the proposed facility.

Alexandra Vere said: "The over intensification of the site, sheer scale and mass of the proposal would have a permanent and harmful effect on the amenity currently enjoyed by residents.

"Our home and the amenity we enjoy will be severely negatively impacted by the overbearing and hugely imposing height and scale of the proposed block of 14 apartments."

Joanne Kirby said: "Having moved here from London, I wanted to escape the 'hemmed-in and oppressive' feeling I'd experienced there.

"I purchased a property offering natural light coming through the windows, which helps to gain a sense of space around it.

"However, now, your proposed building will be successfully achieving the opposite. It will block a lot of my natural light, which will have an adverse impact on my well-being as the sense of visual space I enjoy so much, will disappear."

The company describes itself as a quality care provider, committed to creating "exciting and innovative care environments for older people in the hear of communities in Yorkshire".

SHG held two consultation events with local residents last year and made a number of alterations to the proposals prior to its submission.

This included reducing their plans in both height, by around one metre, proximity to their boundaries and increased car parking on the site.

However, the company said they could not remove the third floor of the building for commercial reasons and also to enable them to provide the additional on-site car parking spaces.

Graeme Lee, CEO of SHG, said: "Now that the planning application has been submitted and is being considered by Harrogate Borough Council, we will again review all comments from statutory consultees and neighbours and respond as required.

"Creating safe and appropriate environments for individuals with varying levels of care need, including dementia, is never easy but Springfield believe this development will give them the opportunity to really make a difference in Harrogate.”

Despite the statutory expiry date for the plans being in March this year, the company has already posted on its website that the facility will be opening early 2019.

The site is currently almost completely vacant but in the past its previous use has led to issues over parking, noise pollution and general intensive use of the site.

SHG argued that any business or industrial use of the site would be "far more intensive" than their plans and bring about far greater impact on residents.

Peacock and Smith, working on behalf of SHG, sent a letter to residents on January 10 to inform them that the plans had been submitted.

Its letter to residents stated: "The site could, in principle, be brought back into a business and industrial use by reopening and reusing the existing buildings, all of which have little or no modern day restrictions imposed that would protect residential amenity.

"Alternatively an application to significantly redevelop the site for this purpose, including unrestricted access to and from The Grove, could be submitted.

"Overall, the team has been working extremely hard to design a scheme that works on the site and will allow Springfield to provide the highest level of care it will offers its residents."

However, local resident Jane Macnab argued that development of the site should be a case of having to choose between the "lesser of two evils".

She argued: "All local residents are aware that there could be worse alternatives to a care home development so the attempt to quell opposition to the plans submitted by highlighting less suitable alternatives is ill judged.

"This is an opportunity to regenerate a dilapidated site with a new development that fits into the conservation area and is sympathetic to its neighbours.

"That may be a care home development but equally that may also be much needed housing.

"There are many legitimate concerns being expressed concerning the overbearing height and bulk of the buildings that Springfield propose.

"The reply that 'due attention' has been given by the developer to those concerns by reducing the height of a four storey building by some 100cms would appear wholly inadequate."