North Tuddenham: Proposed 40 bed nursing home: Adjacent The Lodge, Main Road: Application Reference 3PL/2008/0321/F (Agenda Item 10)
Report of the Development Services Manager.
The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) introduced this full application for a 40 bed nursing home. A previous application for a 62 bed home had previously been refused by Committee. In this revised application the reasons for the previous refusal had been addressed.
The applicant had stated that the residents would be elderly and mentally infirm and that the peaceful, rural location would be suitable for them. A Green Travel Plan was included with the application which proposed to provide a mini-bus service to take staff to and from the site, thus reducing the number of vehicle movements.
As to the impact on the countryside, it was pointed out that a previous permission for a hotel/motel would have exactly the same impact. Additional landscaping was proposed and the building had been designed to provide screening to minimise noise problems.
To address drainage concerns a private treatment plant was also proposed which would discharge ‘clean’ water to reed beds and a water feature within the grounds.
Highways had raised concerns re visibility and more details had been provided which seemed to achieve the required standard of visibility splays.
There was scant evidence from Norfolk County Council about the need for this type of facility. It was suggested that the Dereham area was reasonably well provided for but a significant increase in elderly people requiring care was expected.
Finally he mentioned that the Ward Member, Mr Rose had written with his concerns about the position of the site, outside an allocated area and adjacent to a public house, farm and kennels. He was concerned about the scale of the proposal, the fact that it was only accessible by car and he questioned its sustainability.
The issues were finely balanced but after weighing up the arguments for and against, officers were recommending approval.
Mr Sharpe (Agent) was present to answer any questions.
Mr Wingate (representing the adjacent farmer) told Members that the scheme was unacceptable in principle and detail. His client was concerned about the possible effect of the development on his well and bore hole. He was also concerned that the noise and smells from his farm would be unpleasant for residents. Finally he was concerned that the proposal was unsustainable as the only means of transport for visitors was by car.
Mr Stapleton (representing North Tuddenham Parish Council) was also against the proposal. He argued that the need for the home had not been proved. There were concerns that the applicant intended to increase the facility to 80 beds if permission was granted.
Drainage was a problem and he asked about the possibility of medication from the home entering the water table. He also felt that not enough parking spaces were provided for the size of the home, which he considered too big for its rural location.
Mr Claussen (Ward Representative) told Members that he had been to two public meetings attended by over 100 local people concerned about this proposal. He mentioned that the previous application had been refused on policy grounds and because of the conflict between the proposal and the adjacent farm, public house and kennels.
He was concerned that in the supporting information the applicant mentioned that the optimum number of beds to make such a facility financially viable was 80.
The County Councillor had wanted to be present to express her concerns and to confirm that there was already adequate care provision in the area.
Finally he felt that the previous approval for a motel had synergy with the public house and did not cause conflict.
A Member was concerned about the health implications on livestock, raised by the possibility of medication entering the water table. The Solicitor advised that this was a material consideration and more information was needed.
The Environment Agency considered the drainage proposals acceptable. Essentially clean water was discharged from the Water Treatment Plant.
Another Member was concerned that the parking provision was totally inadequate. The Agent explained that this was the number requested but that it would be possible to provide more by reconfiguring the layout if necessary.
The Development Services Manager told Members that the applicants had offered to enter an agreement restricting any further development on the site.
Members were unanimously against the recommendation for approval.
It was RESOLVED to refuse the application on the grounds that it was unsustainable and would conflict with national planning policy and be likely to result in conflicts with adjoining commercial and agricultural uses.