87-room care home on Ardleigh Green college site granted permission

Ardleigh Green New City College

Plans to build a care home on part of the New City College site in Ardleigh Green have been passed by Havering Council. - Credit: New City College

An 87-room care home on a New City College site in Ardleigh Green has been given the green light.

Havering Council's strategic planning committee met to decide Signature's proposal on Thursday (October 7) and after a protracted discussion, the proposal - part of a wider college masterplan - passed with five votes in favour.

Cllr Linda Hawthorn (Upminster and Cranham Residents Group, Upminster) was the solitary vote against, while Cllrs Reg Whitney (Residents' Group, Hacton) and Graham Williamson (Independent Residents' Group, South Hornchurch) both abstained.

All remaining committee members voted in favour of the facility, which is also set to have 24 dementia suites and a range of recreational rooms.

The proposed site of the care home was historically the college's car park, but plans to relocate that facility have been approved and the space is set to become vacant.

This proved a bone of contention at the meeting, with Emerson Park councillor Roger Ramsey saying he couldn't see "any way in which this development can be permitted" until the new car park is constructed.

He said: “I can see no condition that the development should not start until the alternative college car parking is available." 

Havering's head of strategic development, Simon Thelwell, said the issue "isn't quite addressed" in this application.

However, should the proposal pass, it will be resolved through either "a condition or an addition to the legal agreement”, he said.

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Cllr Ramsey - responsible for calling in both this application and the one seeking to relocate the car park - also spoke of a perceived “detrimental impact" on the area. 

“This development contains a structure which is higher and larger than anything else in the Emerson Park policy area," he said.

The planning report confirms the three-storey facility would range between 12.4m and 13.8m in height.

This is taller than the maximum height - 8.1m - of the nearby residential property on Russets, although the report confirms the element closest to those properties is "mainly two storeys".

Cllr Keith Darvill (Labour, Heaton) deemed the proposal "worthy of approval", while Cllr Ray Best (Con, Havering Park) said a care home is "sorely needed in our borough”.