THE demolition of three houses in Hartford and construction of a 69-bedroom care home in their place has been recommended for approval.

The application, relating to land at 433 to 437 Chester Road, will go before Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee on Tuesday where a final decision will be made, after being called in by Hartford and Greenbank ward councillor Patricia Parkes.

She raised concerns shared by many residents over the size and scale of the two-storey development and its impact on the character of the area, residential amenity and highway network.

But a case officer report prepared ahead of the meeting has recommended that the application be granted planning permission.

The 8,076-square metre site currently comprises of three large detached houses and their long gardens.

Northwich Guardian:

Two of the three existing access points from Chester Road will be retained, with the central point of access being closed.

Initial proposals submitted by applicant New Care also sought to build five additional four-bedroom homes on the site, but this has been reduced to four.

Objections have been lodged against the development by Hartford Parish Council, which says that it contravenes the Hartford Neighbourhood Plan and is not a sustainable development.

Further objections raised by members of the public include the care home’s impact on road safety, the fact that it is not brownfield land and that there is no proven need for another care home in the area.

On Hartford resident opposing the plans, Cliff Hall, believes that the there are other sites in Northwich which are more suitable on which to build a care home.

He said: “Northwich town centre is enjoying some redevelopment and is providing more town-based living in close connection with shopping, medical and transport facilities.

“Brownfield developments are much more satisfactory than brutal developments in residential areas. A more central facility is a better solution.”

In his report, case officer Brian Leonard addresses objections over the need for the development and references an assessment submitted by New Care which states that there is a ‘significant unmet need’ for additional elderly care home beds within both Hartford and Cheshire West and Chester.

Northwich Guardian:

This assessment also states that there is ‘sufficient capacity’ to support more than one care home in the area.

On the issue of the development not being in keeping with the scale and character of the area, Mr Leonard references alterations made to the plans, including reducing the width of the building and incorporating a glazed area to the front.

He states that ‘significant efforts’ have been made to ensure that the building lines of Chester Road are respected, and as such, the development does not detrimentally harm the village landscape.

The report goes on to say that the council’s highways team does not consider that extra traffic will severely impact the highway network and that the development promises economic benefits through job creation.

It concludes that planning permission should be granted subject to s106 contributions totalling close to £175,000 being made, including £7,452 towards allotments, £59,616, towards parks and recreation and £25,491 in sports pitch sums.