Centre bosses ‘surprised’ by local reaction

George Fairhurst with residents of Heaton Street, Standish, who are opposed to the expansion of the Alpha Care Home. They are Cliff Connor, Lydia Connor, Joe Woods and Anne Aspinall

George Fairhurst with residents of Heaton Street, Standish, who are opposed to the expansion of the Alpha Care Home. They are Cliff Connor, Lydia Connor, Joe Woods and Anne Aspinall

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RESIDENTS have launched a campaign to halt the expansion plans of a local homecare centre.

Alpha Care want permanent permission for a 24-hour, seven- day operation in Heaton Street, Standish.

But neighbours have now sent a 22-signature petition to the Metro claiming the move will create more noise and ruin their quality of life.

And they are being backed by their ward councillor George Fairhurst who said: “This is a residential street.

“The council should first and foremost consider the impact on the families who already live there.”

The care home was founded a decade ago but has had restrictions placed on it for most of the time restricting use to 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

However, this was changed to temporary consent for 24-hour operation a year ago.

But this was on a trial basis and the company is now applying to make it a permanent arrangement.

Parent company Carewatch Care Service said that the Alpha Homecare business provided 250,000 “care hours” every year to the Standish community for the elderly, children and families and those with disabilities.

They point out that although located at the end of a residential street, their base has space to park 10 cars on the site, and they say this is normally sufficient to accommodate the people working and visiting, with only “occasional use” of Heaton Street for parking during the day.

An Alpha spokesman told the Observer: “Outside of the normal nine to five, Alpha Homecare operates at a reduced level supporting care out of office hours.

“This is provided by a much reduced team of people and their cars will always be accommodated on the premises during the evening and weekends.

“The staff are aware of the impact that everyone always parks on the property whenever possible.”

They admit that they are surprised by the local opposition to their proposals as they have “always tried to be good neighbours” to the residents of Heaton Street.

They also believe their use of the former office premises fulfils an “important need.”

But residents say that formalising the business into a full 24-hour operation will cause them increasing problems with disturbance

Neighbour Nicola Trowbridge of Heaton Street said: “It is bad enough during the day with employees parking in front of our houses.

“On meeting days at Alpha our road is packed out with cars from the staff.

“It is no joke when you arrive back with a boot full of shopping in the car and we can’t even park outside our own homes.

“Not only is the parking a major problem but it is the speed that some of the employees drive going into work.

“It is a residential street and not a motorway and I think people need reminding of this.

“Allowing Alpha and the number of employees they have was a big mistake on this plot of land.”

Coun Fairhurst, a former development committee councillor who is supporting the residents’ campaign, said that the already busy Heaton Street has also long been used as a walk-though for the nearby estate.

He said the alleyway allows access to local amenities and that generated a “heavier than normal” footfall and was heavily used by children on cycles as well.

And he added that the turning circle at the Alpha end of Heaton Street was also frequently wrongly used by their staff as overflow parking despite the double yellow lines.

He claimed: “Increasing road traffic to outside office hours when these children are playing is essentially saying that a local business is more important than the many residents in the area and that should not be the case.

“As a community we should be commending parents for sending their children to cubs or brownies or encouraging them to use their bikes or to pay out.

“But by making these activities more hazardous for the sake of one business would mean the council sending out the wrong message.”