Speech to WLDC Planning Committee
- Planning committee should put aside the emotional presentation by HfHC Ltd in relation to its residents and consider the hard facts of this the application. It must be stated that BGPC do not have an issue with the residents however do have concerns regarding the actions of the staff and management of the facility.
- The site may be called a care home however due to the number of resident’s, required number of staff, associated support staff and vehicles and deliveries, the facility is more akin to a manufacturing site than a residential home.
- The facility is situated in a residential area of Bardney, close to the centre of the village. Neighbouring properties are all detached.
- Although the application is for no 51 Station Rd, this is only one part of the large carehome complex and as such the impact of this whole development should be considered in its entirety.
- Although there has been a previous application in 2017, the work was never carried out and the building has been empty until September.
- The care home is the largest employer in Bardney. It employs more people than Jordan Dorset Ryvita, more than British Sugar, more than Omex and more than RASE Haulage.
- The Planning Officers report states that there are 17 residents at the home. Unfortunately this information is not correct as Care Quality Commission reports from 2017 stated that there were 23 residents living in the home, however the facility has increased since this time. A previous application in July 2017 for four additional bedrooms also stated that there were 23 residents. It is believed that the facility now houses approximately 30 residents.
- No 53 was initially purchased in 2004 as a home for the Applicants sister however the site has expanded rapidly on a piecemeal basis, to its current status as a large scale facility, containing a series of buildings. After each application there is a statement that this will be the final expansion.
- BGPC receive more complaints about the HfHC Ltd facility than any other issue in the area. More complaints than those regarding speeding, vehicle anti-social behaviour and dog fouling. The complaints received by BGPC always relate to;
- BGPC has serious concerns over the proposal to effectively create bedsits/student accommodation for vulnerable young adults. This proposed development will be outside the remit of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which raises safeguarding concerns. There seems to be no consideration for homing vulnerable young adults within a large village, within a HMP without consideration for suitability of the area.
- The residents are not housebound and are regularly taken for exercise around the village. Most of the shops and café’s in Bardney have banned residents from the facility as there has been a history of bad behaviour and even physical assault. This history of complaints should be taken into account, as the NPPF states;
“170. Planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by:….
(e) preventing new and existing development from contributing to, being put at unacceptable risk from, or being adversely affected by, unacceptable levels of soil, air, water or noise pollution or land instability.”
- Over the last four years a number of concerns have been raised with the CQC in relation to behaviour of residents. These have related to;
- residents walking into residential homes uninvited,
- having ‘episodes’ in the playpark.
- escaping from the facility
- breaking into the local skatepark during the first lockdown
- The Design and Access Statement from the July 2017 application stated ‘‘Currently, a staff team of 80+ provide 24 hour support to the individuals.’ Obviously not all staff are onsite at all time however there are shift change overs which does create a demand for a large number of spaces.
- The Planning Officers report claims that there is parking space for 30 vehicles. Unfortunately this seems very ambitious, as last week there we 11 vehicles parked at the site outside number 53 with only two empty spaces. Five of the vehicles were minibuses belonging to the Operating company. Outside number there is approximately enough space for five vehicles.
- A Freedom of Information request in early 2020 advised that the Emergency Services have been called to the site at least twice a week. Therefore there is a need for space for emergency vehicles to be able to park off the road and leave in a forward gear.
- Parking has been a major issue at the site since its inception in 2004. Over the years BGPC have received regular complaints from residents both near the home and those living on side streets. Planning permission for 134668 (2016) stated that sufficient parking should be provided for staff at the site, however this condition was never complied with. This proposal will actually require more parking spaces due to families visiting residents in the HMO, whilst the number of available spaces will be reduced, as vehicles have previously been parked at the rear of 51 Station Rd, however this has been made into a garden. Despite claims in previous application Design and Access Statements, staff at the site must drive as Bardney has very poor public transport links.
- Parking outside the premises has created a highways safety issue as the Care Home is situated at the main road through the village and visibility is an issue.
- Staff have been asked to park in the Village Hall car park, however the local primary school encourage parents to use this facility in order to prevent parking problems on Harvey Kent Gardens, which is predominantly occupied by elderly and disabled residents. Unfortunately due to HfHC staff using the Village Hall car park, BGPC have received complaints regarding parking on Harvey Kent Gardens and along Henry Lane.
- BGPC have been informed that staff have also been asked to park at the ‘Old Sugar Factory’ however this is approx. ½ mile away and does not appear to be a popular option with staff.
- Noise from the property has been a cause of contention with neighbouring residents for many years. Noise not only emanates from the residents but also from the conduct and behaviour of staff. WLDC Environmental Protection dept regularly have to attend to monitor noise levels. Several residents have stated that the incessant noise has affected their mental wellbeing.
- LP 26 (m) states ‘Similarly, proposals for development adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, existing ‘bad neighbour’ uses will need to demonstrate that both the ongoing use of the neighbouring site is not compromised, and that the amenity of occupiers of the new development will be satisfactory with the ongoing normal use of the neighbouring site, taking account of criteria m to u above.
- Despite the expansion no s106 charge has been levied at HfHC Ltd, despite the impact that the site has on the village. It must be noted that a housing development which houses this volume of people would be expected to pay s106 and CIL as standard. HfHC Ltd do use the village Playpark on a regular basis however the equipment is designed for those aged 12 years and under.
- The care home has a major impact on the infrastructure of the village of Bardney. The care home uses Bardney Medical Centre for care of its patients, this medical facility is already operating beyond its capacity and this has been documented in previous planning applications linked to the village, especially those relating to the Chestnut Home development. The care home insist that all patients are seen by the Doctors on ‘home visits’ rather than attending the surgery due to their unpredictable behaviour. The surgery note that in the time it takes to carry out one home visit, six patients can be seen at the surgery.
- In conclusion most objections to planning applications are based on hypothetical outcomes; however ours is based on history and the current impact on the quality of life on neighbouring properties and the village as a whole. Although this application is in theory just for two additional residents, the impact of such as a large site has never been considered by the Planning Committee before and therefore based on the effect it has on neighbouring resident’s quality of life and mental health, I implore you to turn down this application.