by Akeem Iginla
A Development Company, Perseus Land Developments had proposed the development of 70 Care Home which will provide a range of services including dementia care, which the Council considered as an identified need in the area.
However, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council had opposed the scheme because of its heritage and general visual impact. The proposed Care Home is situated within a greenfield site in the area which the Planning Inspector considered to be a “modest” contribution to the West Malling Conservation Area, St Mary’s Abbey which is a scheduled monument that includes 11 Listed buildings, five of which are listed at grade I and two at grade II.
The Planning Inspector found that the new care home would introduce a substantial building to the setting and impact the rural atmosphere of the Conservation area. He although noted that a car park had been approved on the appeal site, which would also have an urbanising effect, but decided that the rural setting of the Conservation area and the Abbey would be harmed and would also harm to some extent the grade II Listed West Malling train station.
The Inspector further reached a similar conclusion in terms of the proposal’s general visual impact as a result of its urbanising effect, however, he had noted that this effect would be mitigated by landscaping. However, he dismissed concerns that the nearby train track would affect residents, noting that the passing by of trains may bring a positive mental stimulus for residents”.
He however acknowledged the benefits of the proposal to provide a range of care including dementia services for which there is a particular identified demand in Kent, hence, suggested that this would contribute immensely to addressing the existing undersupply of care accommodation in the borough including the housing land supply shortfalls in the area.
The Inspector concluded that development proposal’s ability to address the undersupply of care homes in the borough outweighed its harmful impacts on the area’s heritage hence, allowed the appeal.
Read the full report, see the Inspector’s appeal case ref: APP/H2265/W/21/3284350