Councillors and developer argue over plans for care home in Kingsclere
TENSIONS simmered at a Kingsclere Parish Council meeting as councillors came face to face with the people behind proposals to build a care home in the village.
Frontier Estates has submitted a planning application to build the 50-bed home on land between Fawconer Road and the A339 – a site earmarked for houses in the village’s neighbourhood plan and the subject of outline planning permission for 13 homes.
However, the development company has now bought the land and put forward its own plans, saying there is an “identified need for specialist future-proofed and Covid-secure accommodation for the elderly in the local area”.
In a parish council meeting last Monday, councillors clashed with Frontier Estates development director Will Rees and Gillings Planning associate director Hannah Pearce on the local demand for a care home in Kingsclere.
Mr Rees said the home – which will be targeted at Kingsclere residents with serious forms of dementia or who need end-of-life care, and are expected to have an average life expectancy of three years – would help to free up family homes in the village.
Mrs Pearce added after the meeting: “The proposal will increase the provision and choice of care beds in the local area, for local people where they need them.
“In providing care-beds, the proposal would make a direct contribution to housing needs in the area, as well as freeing-up (up to 38, likely family-sized) homes locally – providing indirect benefits to the housing market and stable job opportunities locally where people may have needed to commute to larger centres such as Newbury and Basingstoke for work.”
She added that construction alone would generate around £7.9m of investment for the local area in addition to 44 construction jobs, 45 full-time jobs in the care home and would result in around £1.7m of healthcare cost savings per year for the borough council.
However, councillors once again hit out at the plans, criticising Frontier Estates’ analysis of the local need.
Clive Musset said: “The village can’t fit 17 people per year into the care home, therefore the figures don’t work.
“The figures will have been done on a larger catchment than the five-mile radius.
“If they were working with the clinical commissioning group or if it was an NHS application and there was a genuine need it would be something to consider.”
Sue Adams said: “If we had 50-odd people with dementia I think we’d know about it.
“That’s what I don’t get, where this demand has come from, especially bearing in mind this is a high-end, expensive care home.”
Nicola Peach said there was “no guarantee” that the people who moved into the home would be local.
She said: “There must be a large demographic of people whereby you have granny living in one part of the country, mum and dad in another part, granny gets dementia and moves into a home where mum and dad are.
“If there are people in the village, they’re likely to move family members.
“It’s not necessarily the case locally that a house will open up.”