Massive expansion of care home into a quasi-retirement village on edge of Fenland town gets the thumbs down

Extension of existing care home to include two storey addition to care home, 15no assisted residenti

Extension of existing care home to include two storey addition to care home, 15no assisted residential apartments, 90no assisted residential apartments with ancillary facilities, 54no staff bedsits and flats, togetherwith 37no open market dwellings Location: The Soham Lodge Nursing Home Soham Bypass Soham ElyCambridgeshire Applicant: DCSL Limi. REFUSED - Credit: Archant

No buses to town, no cycle path, no footpath and access onto one of the busiest roads in the Fens contributed to the reasons for refusing a quasi-retirement village on the outskirts of Soham.

If that wasn’t sufficient to see-off plans for 90 assisted residential apartments, 54 staff flats and 37 homes, there was opposition from the Lord of the Manor of neighbouring Qua Common.

“He had given assurance that he objected to the removal of hedgerow, construction of cycleways or additional points of access involving the common”, East Cambs planners were told.

“The Qua Fen Common Residents Group felt that there was no place to have this development adjacent to the A142 or the common. The common was a place of wellbeing and well used, and it should be preserved”.

The council’s planning committee debated the application during a virtual meeting and unanimously rejected expansion of Soham Lodge nursing home off the Soham bypass.

Planning officer Angela Briggs felt it would “introduce a hard edge form of overdevelopment that would be out of keeping and uncomplimentary with the rural character of the wider landscape”.

Putting in a two-metre high acoustic bund as suggested was not helpful and houses to close to the A142 would be exposed to noise from traffic “which could only be mitigated by the permanent closure of windows”.

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Carol Duff on behalf of the Qua Fen residents said: “The proposed expansion would be of two storeys or more in height, towering over the ancient hedgerows of the common and totally destroying the existing skyline and aspect.

“This would be obtrusive to those overlooking the care home and would bring a negative visual impact.”

Nick Davey on behalf of the applicants promised a “unique complex which would allow the residents to move through the facility as their care needs changed”.

He argued the Local Plan was out of date and the council could not demonstrate an adequate five-year supply of housing land.

He argued that it would provide jobs, was sustainable, there would be a bio-diversity gain and affordable housing . However, all 11 members turned it down.