Cedar Park Care Centre, 27-28 Upper Oldfield Park, Bath
This application, with a viability review and some minor changes to the interior of the proposed extension, appears otherwise unchanged from the previous scheme in height, scale, design and materiality as the previous iteration and therefore there have been no changes which assuage our concerns previously noted regarding overdevelopment of the site, harm to the listed building and inappropriate materials. We assume that this is merely to overcome the points raised by His Honour Judge Cotter QC in the successful judicial review against the previous application, namely that the committee weighed harm against benefits based on viability for which no evidence was before them and therefore could not properly have been taken into account.
The submission of a viability review appears to be indicating that the proposed extensions are justified on viability grounds. We do not oppose in principle the extension of the accommodation on this site to meet market needs of care home facilities, but we do oppose the current design, scale and materiality and its associated impacts on the conservation area and listed building as previously commented by ourselves. Design, architecture and materiality are not matters that rest on viability. Therefore we continue to have concerns regarding the application and our previous comment stands.
Our non-specialist reading of the viability study suggests:
• Cedar Care Homes’ bedrooms need substantially upgrading to meet market expectations:
• There is no need in the immediate catchment currently for further beds, but there is likely to be an increasing need, not however having taken into account other developments in the area:
• There does not appear to be a suggestion that other than the bedroom quality, there is a viability need to increase the number of beds to the level that requires a development of this scale.
We therefore hope that Council Officers will use technical advice to properly scrutinise and explain in the officer report the findings of this viability study so that councillors can make a fair and informed assessment of whether the harm of the development at this scale is outweighed by public benefit, given the suggestion seems to be that the care home needs to upgrade its facilities, but not necessarily its bed numbers.
The proposed scheme would neither preserve nor enhance the special interest of the listed building and would fail to maintain or enhance the character of the conservation area. It would therefore detract from the special qualities of the WHS. The scheme would be contrary to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, Section 16 (Conserving and Enhancing the Historic Environment) of the NPPF, policies B1, B4, and CP6 of the B&NES Core Strategy and policies CP6, D2, D5, HE1, BD1, B.4, of the Placemaking Plan. We would therefore recommend the application be refused.