Committee blasts ‘commercial’ care housing

Red House on Palace Road.
Red House on Palace Road.

A proposed Barnardo’s ‘Extra Care Community’ development in Ripon has been brandished as “over-intensive” and “overbearing” at a city planning meeting.

The plans to convert and extend Red House, on Palace Road, to form an extra close-care housing community and 55 residential units were debated at a Planning Committee meeting on Monday, September 29, with city councillors voting to object to the scheme which will be decided upon by Harrogate Borough Council.

While Barnardo Developments Ltd believes its design provides a broader range of options for older people, Coun Mike Chambers argued they would exclude a number of people. He said: “While I do think it would be a good idea to build a residential care home in Ripon, this particular one is a commercial venture and, as such, there will be some people who won’t be able to access it.

“The county council has already got plans to build more residential homes in North Yorkshire but there are people who would be unable to afford the sort of housing that Barnardo is proposing. I think it is over-intensive and overbearing on the proposed area, and it is a conservation area. There are also land stability and drainage issues that need to be addressed by the developer and, in my opinion, I don’t think they have.”

The proposed extra care community would involve a development of 55 one- and two-bedroom apartments which would be available to buy instead of renting.

A number of residents told the committee that the proposed building on the side of Red House was too high and intrusive and would be built on a conservation area. Initial development plans, submitted in May 2012, proposed 78 residential units but these were withdrawn in November 2013 and revised for a smaller number of units.

Speaking to the Gazette, Jim Pegg, Managing Director of Barnardo Developments Ltd, said other amendments had been made to the size of the proposed buildings to reduce the risk of over-development and trees would be planted to obscure the site from neighbours.

“We have worked with the planners and we believe that they are now happy. Therefore, we hope it will get planning permission when it goes forward,” he said. “Residents pay a service charge for services we deliver but we have found it is affordable and that people are prepared to pay it. We have had no particular issue with that. Also, any money that we make from the scheme goes directly back into the Barnardo’s charity for their work with disadvantaged children.”