Kingsley Healthcare’s head of public relations, Stephen Pullinger, expressed “surprise and disappointment” that councillors refused a £4m development at Lilac Lodge and Lavender Cottage care home against the recommendation of planning officers.
The scheme, designed by nationally-acclaimed and award-winning architects Condy Lofthouse, would see Lavender Cottage, in Gorleston Road, Oulton Broad make way for a new, purpose-built facility, providing 26 luxury bedrooms.
The bedrooms, all with ensuite wet rooms and integrated technology to assist residents and staff, would be fitted out and decorated to the highest standards; the development would also include spacious living areas and terraces where residents could relax and look out on to landscaped gardens.
Following the rejection of the scheme by East Suffolk Council’s planning committee on Monday (22nd), Mr Pullinger said: “It’s clear from everything the planning officers have written that there are no planning grounds to refuse our application.
“We do not feel we were given a fair hearing; the applications before us took hours to debate and yet a scheme of the size of ours, creating great facilities and new opportunities for employment, was given only a short hearing.
“Lilac Lodge is where Kingsley started 21 years ago and we wanted to deliver the best care facilities for the local community. Our scheme would deliver much needed extra care beds in East Suffolk where research has shown there are currently 900 beds fewer than required to meet demand.
“We assembled a great team that worked closely with highways, drainage and planning officers to develop plans that would meet all regulatory requirements. How does the current planning process work to facilitate investment for better facilities? It looks as if the system has not worked here.”
Kingsley Healthcare’s chief investment officer Muj Malik said: “The care sector will be vitally important in creating employment as we recover from the pandemic. As part of our Kingsley Vision 2025 strategy we are working hard on developing much needed new community care facilities that will create hundreds of jobs around the UK in the years to come.”
Sarah Hornbrooke, an associate at Bidwells property consultants, said: “We’re very disappointed that the committee went against the recommendation of their officer. The application was submitted after positive pre- application discussions with the council. The positive dialogue continued through the determination period resulting in a number of amendments being made to the scheme and no objections from key consultees, such as highways or the Lead Local Flood Authority. All planning matters had been robustly addressed which resulted in the recommendation for approval.”
Robert Patkai, senior associate at Condy Lofthouse, said: “I have developed many schemes across the country and I am particularly satisfied with what we have produced for Lavender. We took into account all issues raised, including neighbours’ concerns.”
Kingsley Healthcare CEO Daya Thayan said: “We always want to be good neighbours and will continue our dialogue with objectors regarding the Lavender scheme. However, we will consider all our other options, including a planning appeal.”
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