The proposal comprised 44 leasehold apartments along with communal areas providing lounges, a dining room and kitchen. The scheme was aimed at people of at least 65 years of age in need of care. The appellants said they wished to allow residents to retain financial and practical independence. Residents would each pay a substantial weekly management charge entitling them to 90 minutes of personal care. Between 20 and 25 staff would be employed on a rota basis.
The inspector decided that the level of care proposed was much higher than that associated with normal sheltered housing accommodation. In his opinion, the development fell within class C2 of the Use Classes Order. Given that the average age of incoming residents in this type of accommodation was 84, he held that the apartments did not comprise dwellinghouses and saw no need to provide for affordable housing on or off the site.
He decided that the council had taken an unduly rigorous approach in interpreting a local plan policy requiring developers to obtain local community support for proposals in the settlement. He noted that the appellants had held two public meetings and the scheme had generated a petition and numerous letters of support. The development would be viable and would not adversely affect the village's character, he concluded.
DCS Number 100-050-263
Inspector Richard Thomas; Inquiry.