Plans for 72-bed care home in city given green light

Penny Daniels

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PLANS for a care home in Portsmouth have been given the go-ahead.

The 72-bed residential development at East Lodge Park, Farlington, was approved by the city council’s planning committee at a meeting this week.

It’s due to open in 2015 as a replacement for two dementia care homes – Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge, which don’t meet modern standards.

A consultation was carried out with nearby residents on the layout and design of the building, and it was decided that it would be two-storey instead of three-storey because concerns were raised about it being too imposing.

Cllr Ken Ellcome, of Drayton and Farlington ward, said: ‘It’s good that the council listened to the residents’ concerns and improved things.’

But he claimed some felt pressured into being supportive because a rumour going around that social housing could go there instead – something they definitely didn’t want.

‘Originally, residents wanted to object to the plans and there were up to 100 objectors, but at one of the consultation meetings there was a rumour that if this wasn’t put there, the council would consider introducing social housing,’ he said.

Cllr Leo Madden, cabinet member for health and social care, said it might have been an option.

‘The council’s plan for this land is to build a badly-needed residential care home for vulnerable older people,’ he said.

‘However, let’s say the care home plan had been rejected and we had to look at putting it somewhere else.

‘Then, in my view, at some time in the future, the council would have been seeking to have this parcel of land developed.

‘That proposal might have been for housing or something else entirely.’

The new facility, which will focus on looking after dementia patients, will have spacious bedrooms with en-suites, and small groups of residents will have shared living areas with lounge and dining rooms.

Leader of the council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘It’s important to provide excellent facilities for people with dementia. There’s an increasing number of people who have dementia and when I meet carers they tell me how they need somewhere local in Portsmouth that looks after people.’