Uproar over plans to demolish St Leonards care home

Park Beck, St Leonards. SUS-171204-161356001
Park Beck, St Leonards. SUS-171204-161356001

Developers have resubmitted plans to knock down a Victorian building in St Leonards.

Regal Care Trading Ltd has applied to Hastings Borough Council for permission to demolish the property in Upper Maze Hill, which houses Park Beck, and replace it with a five-storey care home.

In 2016 scores of residents signed a petition in a bid to save the Victorian building from being knocked down after the same developers submitted a similar scheme, which was later withdrawn.

Scores of people have voiced their objections to the latest planning application.

Edward Gosnell said: “The council created the Markwick Terrace Conservation Area primarily on account of the quality of so many of the buildings which as a group are unique, distinctive and worthy of preservation.

“If we allow one of the most valuable of these buildings to be demolished and replaced with one so banal and out of proportion to the rest we know that this conservation area will ultimately be lost.

“The demolition of this excellent, historic building would be a great loss.”

Susan Mihalski said: “We have more than enough residential care homes in this town and many have closed down in the last few years.

“It is vital to keep it as a care home and maintain the existing building.”

Joanne White said: “It is unbelievable that there is even consideration to demolish an attractive period building in a conservation area of considerable merit and replace it with a much larger building out of proportion with the surrounding buildings.”

Paul Oxborrow said: “This is a fine building, recognised as such by The Victorian Society, in an area characterised by fine 19th century architecture.

“The new plans seem very little different from those previously rejected, and though amended slightly would still involve the demolition of the existing building.”

In their application to the council, developers said they want to knock down the building because they believe it is outdated, no longer fit for purpose and has fallen into disrepair.

They added that the lift inside was prone to breaking down a lot.

Last year Park Beck, which provides care for older people with dementia, was praised by health watchdogs for its improvements it had made since two previous visits in July 2015 and September 2016, where the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found breaches in relation to the maintenance of the home.