MP tells of safety concerns over plan for specialist-care housing

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ONE of Yorkshire’s MPs has added his voice to a chorus of opposition to controversial plans for a care development at the site of a former hospital.

The proposals for the former Bingley Hospital site at Fernbank Drive, Bingley, near Bradford, have won council officers’ backing despite at least 26 people have written to Bradford Council objecting to the scheme.

Members of the local authority’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee will be advised to back the proposals when they met on Thursday. Abbeyfield (Bingley) Society Ltd wants to build an integrated care development including 47 extra care flats, 30 dementia rooms and a day centre.

The Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, has joined those objecting to the scheme and ward councillors John Pennington and Mark Shaw have both raised concerns about the development including its size and traffic implications.

Coun Pennington said: “My strong objection is against the size of the proposed development in relation to surrounding properties.

“But frankly, I salute the intended usage of the building. There is, unfortunately, an ever-increasing demand for care homes and dementia care as our population gets older. In every area it is increasing.

“In the event of the panel deciding against the development there are other sites in Bingley that would more than adequately suit the proposals. The one I am thinking of is the old cattle market site off Bradford Road.”

In a report to be considered by councillors, Mr Davies, raises concerns about the parking provision, traffic and pedestrian safety.

He also claims that if approved, the scheme would dominate the local area, be “out of keeping” with the surrounding area and “adversely impact on neighbouring properties.” There are also concerns about trees which could be felled.

The report notes that many residents seem to welcome the proposed use of the site for extra care housing but feel that the density and mass needs to be scaled down and that its positioning needs revising.

There are also concerns about overspill parking and traffic using the streets leading to the site.

An Abbeyfield spokesman said that wherever possible residents’ concerns have been met.

He added: “Abbeyfield is a charity which is committed to the welfare of older people, many of them with loneliness and also the growing problem of dementia. It’s expected by 2025 that one in four of the over 65s will have some form of dementia so that’s why we are proposing this development for the benefit of that area.”

The report says: “The proposed development will make efficient use of previously developed land within the built up area to provide extra care housing and dementia care and so improve the supply of this specialist housing.”

It adds: “The constraints of the surrounding highway network are acknowledged. However, the transport statement submitted by the applicant presents a sound assessment of likely trip generation and car parking need and demonstrates that the predicted increase in traffic movements on the streets leading to and from the site will be low and will be within the capacity of the highway network.

“Car parking provision and the proposed arrangements for means of access are also considered acceptable in view of the nature and character of this proposed use.”

Extra care housing offers independent flats for older people with access to support from on-site nursing and care staff. Residents also benefit from communal facilities.

The scheme would provide 47 extra care flats for elderly residents plus 30 specialist dementia care apartments which would be centred around communal dining/kitchen, administrative, care and social facilities. A day centre would provide social facilities for residents and would also be also be used by other groups.