Tetlow King Planning (TKP) were delighted to have successfully obtained planning permission for their client Coate Water Care Company for a sizeable care home extension within the Green Belt at Ullenhall within Stratford-on-Avon District Council.
TKP worked with the Andrew Wilson Partnership as project managers, KWL Architects, Clarkson & Woods on ecology, Afla Ltd on landscape assessment, Cotswold Transport Planning, Tim Pursey on tree assessment and NJP on drainage/engineering. Tetlow King prepared the application with the relevant consultants before submitting and then managing the process through to determination while liaising/negotiating with the District Council.
The site is within a relatively remote and beautiful location situated in the West Midlands Green Belt. It also sits in the open countryside and is part of the Arden Special Landscape Area. The site is around 3 miles south of the M42 and not far from Henley-in-Arden to the east of Redditch.
The care home is registered for nursing and personal care as well as people with dementia. It was partly a conversion that became a care home in the late 1980s with extensions following after the initial change of use. The approved extension allowed the home to expand the number of care bedrooms from 46 to 60 and also modernise existing rooms. The approved extension was close to a 45% increase by volume over the size of the existing home.
There were issues to address relating to newts and bats which were expertly handled by Clarkson and Wood. Design and landscape impact were of course also important issues in such a beautiful high level designation area which were properly and professionally addressed by KWL Architects and Afla.
TKP were able to explain issues over viability, access and other operational matters, due to their extensive knowledge of care home development, which meant that it was essential that the home was allowed to expand and modernise to allow staff efficiency, improved standards demanded by residents and their families while also improving viability to secure the long term future of the home. While the home has continued to have very good assessments from the Care Quality Commission due to its excellent staff and management it was clear to the owners that they had to move forward. This is a very common situation with older homes in converted premises where staff efficient monitoring and access as well as increased comfort and dignity to residents is very important to securing a long term future. We were also able to explain the importance of employment in rural areas, that many older people do not want to be relocated into towns and that the Green Belt and countryside policies allowed appropriate extension of rural businesses in the countryside even within the Green Belt.
Stratford-on Avon District Council are a forward thinking authority aware of the importance of employment in a rural area but also understanding the needs of businesses active in the care market. Unlike many authorities the relevant planning officer was available to discuss the application and responded quickly to queries in a proactive and helpful way which as many who work in planning will know is becoming a rare and unusual occurrence.