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‘Rural tranquility’ fears of care home proposal
PLANS for a dementia care home in Headington have been thrown out after councillors said it did not fit with the area’s “rural tranquility”.
Oxford City Council rejected the 55-bedroom plan for Pullen Lane for residential and day care for people with dementia.
Developer Carebase wanted to replace a large 1960s house with a three-storey care home with 17 parking spaces.
But council planning officers said it would conflict with the Headington Hill Conservation Area, which gives extra checks against development.
Planning officer Matthew Parry said the site was “essentially greenfield”.
His report said: “The area has a tranquil, rural character with generous spacing between the buildings interspersed with dense greenery.
“This is not found anywhere else in the city.
“Put simply, the building proposed is of a vast scale in comparison to the existing buildings.”
Tony Besse, from the Headington Hill Umbrella Group, urged the east area planning committee reject the plan at its Wednesday meeting.
Raising concerns about extra traffic, the Pullens Lane resident said: “Hundreds of students walk along that road, they’re like sheep in a country lane. It would distract from the enjoyment of the lane.”
But Oxfordshire County Council, responsible for roads, said: “There is no evidence of there being a personal injury accident problem in Pullens Lane.
“The predicted development would have no signficant impact on the capacity or safety of the junction.”
Carebase spokesman David Madden told the committee the complaints conflicted with what others had told them.
He said: “We are disappointed. This is contrary to the advice we received from the design review panel, who we have been working with for the past year.
“This would be less than 40cm higher than the existing building. The highway authority said traffic would be fine and that there would be modest traffic rates.”
He added: “We have already reduced the number of beds from 70 to 55.
“This is the minimum number of beds that we can operate a care home of this quality.”
As of March 31, there were 3,936 dementia sufferers known to the county NHS services, up from 3,566 12 months previously.
Mr Madden said: “There is an urgent and growing need for dementia care in Headington.
The committee unanimously voted against the plan at Oxford’s Town Hall.
Vice-chairman Van Coulter said: “I think this is quite a good development, but not on this site.”
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