A plan for a 64-bedroom home in a North Yorkshire town to provide for frail elderly, dementia patients and nursing and palliative end of life care has been rejected, despite councillors hearing there was a desperate need for such a facility.
A meeting of Hambleton District Council’s planning committee was told elderly residents in the Stokesley area who needed care were unable to remain in north Hambleton due to the absence of such a facility.
Members heard the local catchment was one where “affluence is strong and the age profile is far older than typical”.
Ian Holmes, for Stokesley Care Limited, said the results of a study to assess the demand for the care home had been “astonishing”, with the elderly population being “twice the national average, with 3,500 people over the age of 70” but there were no care homes in the area.
He said: “There is a specific need today for 155 care home beds, which will increase to 184 in three years’ time.”
Mr Holmes said it had commissioned a local landscape architect to conduct a landscape impact assessment and the study had concluded the impact of the building would be “slight”.
Officers said as the proposed site off the A172 south of Strikes Garden Centre was outside development limits so councillors had to agree that an exceptional case had been made for its approval.
They recommended the proposal be refused, stating the need for the specialist service did not outweigh the harm to the landscape.
Mike Canavan, of Stokesley Town Council, told members said while the care home would be an asset for the area, questions remained over the need for an imposing 11m-high property overlooking countryside.
Stokesley councillor Bryn Griffiths said the location of the proposed care home was in the wrong place and there were a number of alternative sites in Stokesley, such as the fields next to the catholic church or on previously allocated housing sites north and west of the town.
He also questioned whether the site beside “a noisy, fast road” was suitable for an end of life care home.
On Saturday, The Yorkshire Post reported fears that Yorkshire’s population is being split by an age schism that runs far deeper than the traditional divide between town and country.
Along with parts of the rest of Britain, the region is said to be balanced on a “demographic tipping point” that will lead to inequalities in housing and social care if the issue is not addressed by the next government.
The Resolution Foundation, an independent research body focused on economic and social policy, calls for urgent action to address what it says are inequalities in the current system of funding care for an ageing population.