Concerns raised over location of proposed 48-bed care facility in Wigan

Residents' group Standish Voice has criticised the proposals lodged by Lakeland Care Home which would see the development built on green belt land

Friday, 7th May 2021, 3:20 pm
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 3:22 pm

A residents’ group is objecting to £5m plans by a care home for a 48-bed building next to its current site.

Standish Voice has hit out at the proposals lodged by Lakeland Care Home for a new “pandemic-proof” three-storey facility alongside its current home near Worthington Lakes, Chorley Road.

The village’s neighbourhood forum said the premises would be built in the green belt, which is land that is usually protected from development.

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Artist's impression of how the new home could look

New buildings are allowed only in exceptional circumstances in the green belt and the group believes this scheme could be built at another more appropriate site.

The new complex for dementia patients would have pandemic resilience built into its design and have art and music therapy rooms for residents.

The care home would also host an indoor garden, a physiotherapy and fitness room, and birdwatching observation decks overlooking the woodland and the lake.

A spokesman for Standish Voice said they supported the project but not the location.

Drawing of how the new home could look

They said: “Standish Voice is objecting to the planning application as the new building would be built in the green belt, which is land that is protected from development.

“Standish Voice believes this would be an excellent facility but it is in the wrong place.

“We need to respect our green belt, especially as so much development has taken place on greenfield sites which are not in Standish’s green belt.”

People can object to the scheme until May 10.

Care home operators Millennium Care are behind the application to Wigan Council for the Elderly Mentally Infirm (EMI) specialist facility.

They said the Covid-19 pandemic has led them to rethink future homes to look at how they can keep people safe, while also minimising the risks of loneliness, helplessness and isolation.

Care home design in large institutional settings has been identified as one of the major risk factors for spreading the virus.

So Lakeland will be organised in small autonomous clusters of seven and nine-bed households, all with individual kitchens and leisure facilities, meaning the residents will not feel the impact of isolation during a lockdown.

In a design and access statement on behalf of the applicant, Alessandro Caruso, architect at ACA, said there were “very special circumstances” to justify the development being built on green belt.

He said this was because the care home will “help meet the established shortfall in EMI Nursing registered beds which currently necessitates placements out of borough”.

He also said it will “help to offset the anticipated attrition across existing homes deemed unfit for purpose” and “create additional capacity in terms of both environment and care category in line with the published CCG Care Home Strategy.”

As well as this, he said 60 local jobs would be created from the plans while they would fulfil the need for EMI-specific care beds.

He added: “An extensive campaign of community involvement has been carried out prior to the planning application with several emails of support received from care co production partners from the borough including the quality performance officer at Wigan Council and members of the wider nursing

team.

“Most importantly we received a very compelling letter of support from the Managing Director of the Wigan CCG who has expressed the critical need for this facility in the borough due to the shortage of EMI beds.”

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