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Care home proposal for Kingsclere housing site condemned

Proposals for a 50-bedroom care home in Kingsclere have been criticised by residents and councillors.

Frontier Estates has been consulting locals on the plans, which involve a site bought by the developer between Fawconer Road and the A339.

A promotional leaflet issued by the firm states: "The need for care accommodation for the elderly is a requirement across the country, particularly given the acknowledged ageing population.

Conceptual art of the retirement home (credit: Frontier Estates).
Conceptual art of the retirement home (credit: Frontier Estates).

"Our vision is to deliver a new 50 bedroom care home that can help to provide this much needed accommodation.

"This will allow opportunities for local residents to remain living locally when their care needs increase."

The proposals come three years after Kingsclere Parish Council commissioned a neighbourhood development plan (NDP) for the village, which set aside the Fawconer Road site for multiple houses.

Conceptual art of the retirement home.
Conceptual art of the retirement home.

This document was put to public referendum, and was approved by 85 per cent of voters.

Housing developer David Wilson Homes had initially had an outline planning application for 13 homes on the site approved by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in January, in line with the NDP.

However, the site was subsequently purchased by Frontier Estates, which has now produced the care home scheme.

In a Kingsclere Parish Council meeting on Monday, the proposals were criticised for ignoring the NDP and the wishes of residents.

Conceptual art of the retirement home.
Conceptual art of the retirement home.

Introducing the meeting, council chairman John Sawyer said: "We are very, very concerned that we should be building moderately-priced and affordable homes for local people.

"The planning panel met with representatives of Frontier Estates, and we were somewhat, I think it would be true to say, dismayed by the proposal.

"On the one hand, mathematically, it would do us well, because, apparently, a 50-bed care home counts as 25 housing units, against that total of 50 houses that we are required to put forward.

"It doesn't work in terms of the reality of what we want.

"There are people who are in favour of it, but, generally speaking, I think a lot of people are concerned."

In particular, it was emphasised at the meeting that there was little pre-existing demand for a new care home in Kingsclere.

Mr Sawyer continued: "With all the research that we did for the neighbourhood plan, not once did one single person say, 'We need a care home.'

"I think, moving forward, this discussion forms the basis of a very good objection to the plan.

"I would ask that any residents who are concerned about this should, once the planning application has been made, make their feelings heard – and I know there are people in our community who've said: 'Actually, a care home could be quite a good thing.'

"I'm genuinely saying that the wheels of democracy should turn, and the people need to be writing."

Frontier Estates' own consultation on the Fawconer Road scheme runs through to August 6, with residents able to submit responses via bit.ly/2UT900n

The developer has stated that it hopes to present a planning application to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in the near future.

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