OFFICERS want to see a controversial proposal to knock down three Hartford homes and build a care home in their place approved by councillors today.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee will discuss an application from New Care to demolish 433, 435 and 437 Chester Road and build a 69-bed care home in a virtual meeting from 4pm.

The proposal was turned down by the same committee back in July, following more than 70 objections from residents and opposition from Hartford councillors.

That application also included four new houses on the land, and those have been removed in the latest plans to make way for four extra parking spaces following concerns raised at the last meeting, taking the total to 32.

At that meeting, the planning committee rejected the proposal due to its size and appearance ‘failing to contribute positively to the character of the area’, and New Care has since moved the planned care home further back from Chester Road and amended the design.

In a report published ahead of today’s meeting, planning officer Brian Leonard said: “Officers consider this application is an improvement on the original submission in design terms and are therefore recommending approval.

“The proposed development promises economic benefits in the form of new jobs, and social benefits resulting from the provision of a new residential/nursing care home in an accessible urban location.

“The development’s impact on the character of the area is considered appropriate.”

Despite the amendments from New Care, there is strong opposition to the plans.

Cllr Patricia Parkes, Conservative, has ‘called in’ the application for debate over concerns about the care home ‘being out of character with that area of Hartford and having a detrimental effect on the street scene’, while Labour MP Mike Amesbury has also objected to both planning applications this year.

In comments sent to CWAC, Hartford Parish Council added: “This new application does not alter the scale or design of the care home building and therefore does not address the reasons for the refusal of the previous application.

“The Hartford Neighbourhood Plan requires all development proposals to be of a high standard of design and reflect the scale, density and character of the surrounding built environment. Designs should respect their context.”

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Other concerns raised by neighbouring residents include the home’s impact on road safety, the potential to make parking problems in the area worse and the development’s impact on the natural environment.

If the plans are approved, New Care will be required to pay £54,648 towards improvements at Verdin Park, £34,776 towards primary care, £7,993.97 on biodiversity and £6,831 towards Hartford allotments.