Planning approval for controversial care home scheme

A controversial bid to resurrect a former Leigh care home has found favour with councillors.
Beech Grove HouseBeech Grove House
Beech Grove House

But neighbours of Beech Grove House in St Helens Road have predicted traffic chaos.

Council planning officers had supported the scheme from Joyn Developments as the Victorian property has lain empty for more than eight years and is in an increasing state of disrepair.

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Under the initiative, the main home would be converted and extended to form seven one and two-bedroom flats, with a two-bedroom cottage and three-bedroom home to be built in the grounds.

Architect Keith Summers said the developer had taken into account previously-expressed concerns with the project and had reduced the number of homes, contained within, from nine to eight.

He told a planning committee: “The parking concerns would be far worse if it was to return to being a residential home, which could be run 24 hours a day, without any consideration for the surrounding area. And it is just not viable as a single dwelling as it would have been bought up many years ago.”

He said that when the home was bought by the developers they were told by residents that they were “really excited” at its renovation, given its current state.

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But residents’ spokesman Claire Watkins-Wilson said there were already plenty of flats to meet local housing needs within a mile of the site, adding: “Parking is an absolutely massive issue. Because of the lack of space people will be parking on the pavement.”

She also voiced concern for the safety of schoolchildren who used a nearby bus stop.

Labour councillor Stephen Murray worried that only nine spaces had been left for tenants when he estimated up to 17 cars would result.

But principal planning officer Dave Rawsthorne said the amount of parking met the required standard for the type of housing proposed.

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Proposing approval for the plan Coun Susan Greensmith said: “What we have here is a derelict building which is just going to get worse and worse over time.”

She said the homes “would only enhance the area”.