Anger as gov­ern­ment ap­proves care vil­lage

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@trin­i­tymir­ @jamie_lopez1

ACARE vil­lage for up to 104 el­derly peo­ple will be built in Birkdale af­ter the devel­op­ers won an ap­peal for plan­ning per­mis­sion.

Sefton Coun­cil had ini­tially re­fused plans to build the cen­tre on the site of the for­mer Sun­shine House blind school on Ox­ford Road, but the Gov­ern­ment has over­ruled the de­ci­sion.

Build­ing work is now ex­pected to be­gin be­fore the end of 2017.

Plan­ning of­fi­cers de­nied per­mis­sion in March 2016, ar­gu­ing that the scale and de­sign would ‘ present an over­dom­i­nant and un­sym­pa­thetic devel­op­ment in the streetscene’ and ‘fail to re­spect the char­ac­ter and ap­pear­ance of the West Birkdale Con­ser­va­tion Area’.

How­ever, plan­ning con­sul­tants Mo­saic Town Plan­ning took the ap­peal to the plan­ning in­spec­torate on be­half of care provider Be­long and the plans have now been ap­proved.

Be­long can now go ahead with the project, which will see the build­ing of a new fa­cil­ity com­pris­ing 74 bed­rooms and 30 su­per­vised apart­ments, in­clud­ing a new car park. The for­mer build­ing will be de­mol­ished to make way for the fa­cil­ity, which will be part two storey and part three storey.

The de­ci­sion has been slammed by West Birkdale Cllr Tony Daw­son, who rep­re­sents the Lib­eral Democrats.

Cllr Daw­son said: “It is quite clear and to­tally de­press­ing what the Gov­ern­ment wants for South­port.

“More out of town shops to fin­ish-off our town cen­tre and con­cen­trat­ing more el­derly peo- ple into the parts of town where we al­ready have more very el­derly peo­ple than any­one else has any­where in the North West.

“They seem to have no con­cerns what­so­ever about the cu­mu­la­tive im­pact of these poli­cies on our lo­cal health and so­cial ser­vices - and the ef­fect this will have upon the ad­e­quacy of ser­vices avail­able for the peo­ple who al­ready live here.

“We might al­most as well not have plan­ning pro­cesses at all.”

Leon Arm­strong, as­so­ciate of Mo­saic Town Plan­ning, said: “We are pleased that the in­spec­tor has ac­knowl­edged the con­tri­bu­tion this com­mu­nity care vil­lage will make to the sur­round­ing con­ser­va­tion area.

“The site has been va­cant for some time and has be­come a blot on the lo­cal land­­scape

“We be­lieve that a Be­long vil­lage is well suited to the lo­ca­tion and can help to pro­vide nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits to those with care needs and the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Tony Daw­son has slammed the Gov­ern­ment’s ap­proval of plans for a care vil­lage on Ox­ford Road, Birkdale

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