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Plans for controversial 88-bed care home in Spalding will have ‘substantial benefits that outweigh harm to skyline’, say planners





Controversial plans to construct an 88-bed care home on the site of a former pub look set to be given the thumbs up.

Crispen Holdings want to demolish the derelict Bull & Monkie on Spalding’s Church Gate to make way for the new venture.

The proposals have received a number of objections from public figures, groups and residents concerned the four-storey building would be too imposing for the riverside site, also questioning whether 13 proposed parking spaces would be enough to serve the care home.

An artist's impression of how the four-storey, 88-bed care home could look
An artist's impression of how the four-storey, 88-bed care home could look

However, South Holland District Council planners have recommended the application be approved at Wednesday’s planning committee meeting, stating the project contains ‘substantial benefits’ which ‘outweigh the harm placed upon the skyline’.

Rev John Bennett, said he felt the proposed building ‘may be too big’ and block views of the adjacent St Mary and St Nicolas church.

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Spalding and District Civic Society submitted what SHDC described as a ‘thorough and lengthy’ objected to the application.

The derelict Bull & Monkie site
The derelict Bull & Monkie site

The group said there were insufficient parking spaces, not enough outdoor amenity space, no provisions for motability vehicles and that refuse collection would not be possible for council operatives.

Their objection also stated ‘the use of the site as a care home is not optimal use. This would, instead, be as a town hall’.

Two public consultations brought nine letters of objection, although three were duplicates, and one letter of support from residents.

How the care home could look as viewed from Spalding's Taku Bridge
How the care home could look as viewed from Spalding's Taku Bridge

Concerns raised included over development, the impact upon the conservation, insufficient parking and the loss of privacy, sunlight and views to nearby properties.

The letter of support argued the design was appropriate for the setting and it would help tidy up a known grot spot.

A response from Lincolnshire County Council’s highways department had no objection to the plans, but did comment on the number of parking spaces.

Drawings show how the care home could look
Drawings show how the care home could look

“The proposal includes 13 parking spaces, which is below the number required by strict adherence to the local plan,” the planning officer’s report explained, outlining the authority’s response.

“However, the professionally conducted transport statement satisfactorily justifies this and this arithmetical shortfall would not, in the opinion of the highway authority, be sufficient cause to withold the grant of consent.”

The proposed care home would be run by Abbey Healthcare – and each of its 88 single occupancy bedrooms would be equipped with an ensuite wetroom, with decor that aims to ‘rival a comfortable hotel’ according to documents submitted to SHDC with the planning application.

South Holland District Council planners have recommend care home plans be approved
South Holland District Council planners have recommend care home plans be approved

The council planning officer’s report concluded: “It is considered that, with the careful application of suitable conditions, on balance the proposal which contains substantial benefits in respect of delivering specialist residential care, resolving and substantially enhancing a problem site that currently detracts in a major fashion from the conservation area, as well as benefits to the ecology, would outweigh the harm placed upon the skyline and access to views of the Grade I-listed church, as wll as the comparative lack of parking provisions - both negative aspects which have been satisfactorily justified with reasoned evidence, and in the case of the parking aspect, supported by the county council’s highways authority.”

Archaeologists began work on the site in February after it was suggested their may be medieval remains buried there.

However, to date only an animal skeleton has been found.

The derelict Bull & Monkie site
The derelict Bull & Monkie site

A care home was proposed for the site in 2009 – but the design has now been altered to try to take ‘greater account of the local context of the site’.

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Other ditched proposals included demolishing the pub to make way for a car park and a scheme of townhouses and apartments.

What do you think? Should the plans be passed? Post your views in the comments below or email news@lincsonline.co.uk



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