Care home plan for St Albans industrial site

Fears that new multi-storey home will “dwarf” neighbouring houses

A 63-bed care home has been given the go-ahead on the site of an industrial building despite concerns that it could dwarf neighbouring properties.

The industrial unit on Camp Road in St Albans is being demolished to make way for the multi-storey care home despite the opposition of neighbours and local councillors.

On Tuesday, St Albans council’s plans central committee approved Primary Care Investment Ltd’s proposal to knock down the industrial unit in Camp Road to allow a care home to be built together with 21 car parking spaces at the front of the building.

All the bedrooms will be en suite with communal living and dining areas, a nurses’ station and office space on each floor of the two-to-three-storey building. A total of 60 staff will work shift hours at the 24-hour facility.

The vacant industrial building is on a site surrounded by homes to the south and west and four letters of objection were received voicing fears that the scale of the development would “dwarf” nearby homes along Camp Road, ruin the quiet nature of the street and that additional traffic would pose safety problems.

Responding to the decision to grant permission by a narrow five votes to four to build the home next to the Camp Pub, Lib Dem Councillor for Ashley, Andy Grant, said it was a large building which would have an overbearing impact on neighbouring homes.

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He went on: “In a number of ways this is an acceptable use of a light industrial site which has been unoccupied for a long time. However, with 63 bedrooms on three floors this will be a very large building.

“It is also situated close to an area which has seen a lot of large-scale development of flats in recent years.”

Fellow Ashley councillor, Anthony Rowlands, spoke against the application at the meeting. Afterwards, he said: “It is good that the care home will provide over 60 new jobs but where are all the staff going to park?

“Experience of other care homes suggests that many of the employees come from outside St Albans and, like it or not, travel by car. I fear that this will have an adverse and avoidable impact on already heavily parked local roads.”

Plans Central vice-chairman, Cllr Tom Clegg, said approval was given as the building was “redundant” and concerns over parking were not a strong enough reason to reject it.

He added: “It is going to bring some employment there.”