Could former care home become boarding house for farm staff?
08:20 11 July 2014
The owner of a former care home near Ely have applied to convert the building into a boarding house for farm workers – just weeks after plans for new apartments were refused.
Sri Ratnasinkam has told planning officials at East Cambridgeshire District Council that he has been approached by a farmer who wants to rent the property for up to five years to house farm staff.
Just two months ago, plans to transform the building into 24 apartments were refused by the district council’s planning team.
Fenland Lodge, on the A142 Soham Road, was officially taken off the Care Quality Commission’s register as a care home in September last year having sat empty since 2011.
The building was purchased by Mr Ratnasinkam, of Burgess Hill, West Sussex, in April 2013 and plans were soon entered to convert the home into a residential development of 24 apartments.
But the council took a dim view of the application, saying that it was too small to house the number of apartments and was too close to the main road.
Now, he says he has been approached by a farmer seeking accommodation for temporary staff and they have moved swiftly to apply to convert the facility into a boarding house.
Architects acting for the owners said: “For this change of use there is no need to make any structural alterations to the building as each room has its own en-suite facility and all are served from the common corridors.
“The commercial kitchen would be able to provide meals, the existing dining hall would accommodate them and the function room would provide an area for unwinding and activities.
“It is possible that the boarders would be able to access the farm and be picked up from the internal boundary meaning that there would be no traffic leaving or entering the site during the working day.”