Planning permission sought for 71-bed care home on land at Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre

It's the second new care home in the pipeline for Leighton Buzzard

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 9:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 10:01 am

A new care home looks set to be constructed on land next to Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre, as "the leading UK developer in the care home sector" has its sights set on the town.

Frontier Estates Ltd, based in Woburn, wishes to establish a 71-bed care home at the Hockliffe Road site, which would involve the demolition of "an existing steel framed agricultural structure" which is in poor condition and surplus to requirements.

The care home is the second one on the cards for the town, as there is already one planned on the site of the recently demolished former Magistrates' Court and police station site.

A designer's image of the care home.

Laura Grimason, of Gillings Planning (which prepared the planning statement on behalf of Frontier Estates), said: "A care home is being proposed in this location to respond to a need for specialist future-proofed and Covid secure accommodation for the elderly in the local area.

"This proposal provides an opportunity to increase provision of care beds in the local area, ensuring that there are enough for local people when they need them and leading to wider improvements to well-being through the delivery of care tailored to individual needs and the provision of high quality communal facilities. We believe that the social benefits of the scheme are extensive.

"The proposal is forecast to deliver significant economic benefits for the local area during construction and operation and it is anticipated that the care home itself will employ around 70 staff on site whilst also generating additional indirect jobs in the surrounding area.

"The care home has been designed to a high quality to ensure it fits with its surroundings which includes the neighbouring Clipstone Park development."

A designer's image of the care home.

The consultation period for the application ends on May 19, with the target date for a decision by Central Beds Council on June 7. There have been three responses received (all against) so far.

Outline planning permission (ref. CB/11/02827/OUT) was previously granted in August 2015 for a mixed-use urban extension of the town (on land at Clipstone Park, Land South of Vandyke Road and North of Stanbridge Road), which included 1,210 dwellings; 70 units of assisted living; B1, B2 and B8 employment space; a neighbourhood centre including an elderly person care home of 70 beds; a new eastern link road between Vandyke Road and Stanbridge Road; green infrastructure; a lower school; and a middle school.

Describing the proposed location for the care home, the planning statement says: "The site comprises primarily of an area of flat mown grassland, set behind a row of pollarded Lime trees (Category B) and Horse Chestnut trees, (Category C). One of the Horse Chestnut trees is dead and therefore designated as a Category U tree.

"Along the northern boundary, a dilapidated chain link fence forms the site boundary. Within the southern part of the site is an existing steel framed agricultural structure, a timber shed, an adjacent area of hardstanding and two greenhouses. There are also a number of Category C trees and a couple of dead trees adjacent to an area of overgrown scrub. Within the centre of the site is a mature and unmaintained hedgerow with an associated post and rail fence that currently divides two parcels of mown grassland.

The proposed care home site. Photo: Gillings Planning/Frontier Estates.

"The site occupies a sustainable location approximately 1.3 miles from Leighton Buzzard town centre where a range of services, leisure and health facilities are available. Bus stops in close proximity to the site also provide services to Leighton Buzzard, Eggington, Woburn, Ridgmont and Tingrith."

Now that the application for full planning permission for the care home has been submitted, it was discussed at a recent Leighton-Linslade Town Council planning meeting.

Councillors declared no objection but have relayed concerns to CBC over whether the proposed parking spaces are sufficient for staff and visitors.

They also expressed concern over traffic movements during construction and that construction traffic should approach from Hockliffe, and requested that potential odour/noise issues be mitigated where possible.

A spokeswoman from Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “The comments made by the town council will be taken into consideration along with all other representations made before reaching a decision.”