Mon, 22 Feb 2021
PLANS to convert a pub into accommodation for people with autism and learning disabilities have been submitted.
Transforming Developments Ltd has applied to change the use of The Travellers Friend in Crookham Common Road to residential institutional use.
The existing village shop on the site will be retained and relocated closer to the road and will provide an opportunity for people living in the new accommodation to work in it.
Documents say that the development would help meet a “significant need for adult care facilities in West Berkshire”.
Planning documents say that the development will provide accommodation for 18 people with autism and learning disabilities.
The accommodation will provide a mix of private bedrooms with en-suite bathroom and a small kitchen, along with shared and managed facilities to balance the needs and care requirements of residents.
Existing buildings will be refurbished and converted into living, staff and communal accommodation and a new building will contain the relocated community shop, as well as purpose-built resident accommodation over two floors.
A central courtyard will provide a safe and secure environment for residents and sensory and allotment spaces are also included in the plans.
The site will be run and managed by Pathway for Care, a group of health and social care professionals.
In a letter accompanying the application the group said: “Currently, there are insufficient appropriate services to meet the needs of local communities whose family members with learning disabilities and autism require specialist support.
“Individuals living in the property will receive support from specifically employed social care support staff and the local community health/care services and allied professions to ensure their needs are properly assessed and met.”
West Berkshire Council’s adult social care department said it wholly supported the scheme, which would “make a significant contribution towards the need for this type of residential support and where there is a shortage of suitable places”.
It added that the development would “help meet a strategic and significant need for adult care facilities in West Berkshire, and in being a well-designed scheme that should provide residents with a high-quality environment beneficial to their mental and physical wellbeing”.
The site would lose 13 main parking spaces, but four will be disabled spaces and four will be electric vehicle charging points, making a total of 36 spaces.
A viability report said the pub was not a viable investment following the limited number of interested parties, as well as the absence of any offer.
“Given the pub’s lack of financial sustainability as an ongoing business, and lack of market interest, its loss is wholly justified,” documents said.
Plans for live/work units on land to the north of the pub were refused in 2015 and 2016.
Transforming Developments said its application would make use of a brownfield site, which would create employment, increase local amenities and offer a much-needed community facility.
The company said the new building aimed to be a sustainable form of development, including renewable energy.
They added that the allotments provided opportunities for on-site food production.
The application can be viewed by entering 21/00207/FUL into West Berkshire Council’s planning website.