The appellant explained that the new standards required 80 per cent of rooms to be single-occupancy by 2007. As a result, the decision had been taken to reduce the number of beds in a room to two as an interim measure, which meant that by 2007 the home would only provide 28 beds. The proposed extension would allow a total of 50 beds to be provided, thereby maintaining the viability of the business.
Agreeing that the nursing home could not continue to operate at a loss, the inspector found that this amounted to a very special circumstance justifying permission. The alternative, he concluded, was to allow the business to close, exacerbating a shortage of beds in nursing homes and causing great disturbance and trauma to existing residents.
However, the inspector made it clear that his decision should not be used as a basis for justifying other proposals, given that the extension represented inappropriate development in the green belt. He imposed a condition limiting the total number of beds in the nursing home to 50.
DCS No: 42954029; Inspector: Michael Hurley; Hearing.