CASEBOOK: Appeal cases - Community facilities - Care home extension supported in green belt

An extension to a nursing home in the West Midlands green belt has been allowed as necessary to enable the business to continue trading in the light of new standards set out in the national care standards regulations.

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.

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