Planner defends home’s approval

Councillor Michael Wincott
Councillor Michael Wincott

A councillor has spoken out in defence of a controversial 90-bedroom care home development in St Leonards.

Plans for the care complex, which is to be built on the site of the former Dane Court Nursing Home in Chapel Park Road, were approved at a meeting of Hastings Borough Council’s planning committee on June 22.

The proposals had proven unpopular with many residents, with planners receiving 103 letters of objection from 46 households and two separate petitions objecting to the development.

But planning committee member councillor Michael Wincott defended the decision to approve the scheme, saying it would help to reduce the ‘struggle’ families face when trying to find good quality care.

Cllr Wincott said: “The county council’s Adult Social Care department and relatives struggle to find good quality care homes with vacancies. Many residents of the town have told me that there are considerable waiting lists for some care homes in our town.

“Although not a planning condition, we have to think about good quality homes for elderly and vulnerable adults. That is the benefit to the people of St Leonards and the community. Those who signed the petition may become this home’s future residents, petitioners may have mums and dads or friends who will need a good quality home. Things change.

“Anyone that thinks this is unnecessary or not a benefit to the town clearly doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about.

“Viable care homes are what we need in this town. It’s a clear fact that care and nursing homes are closing across the country because they have low numbers of bedrooms and fees are not keeping up with inflation.

“It makes it difficult to keep a home running. 90 bedrooms sounds a lot but I understand why these bigger schemes have to happen.”

Petitioners objecting to the scheme had raised a number of concerns about the size, design and impact of the proposals. They also raised fears it and would put pressure on the area’s parking issues.

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