Alnwick care home bid set to get the green light

Plans for a care home in a Northumberland town look set to be approved, despite council officers saying there is not the need for it

Alnwick in Northumberland
Alnwick in Northumberland

Plans for a care home in a Northumberland market town look set to be given the green light, despite council officers saying there is no need for it.

Northumberland County Council planners are tonight being advised to approve a plan from the Malhotra Group through Prestwick Care for an 88 bed facility on the site of a former bus depot at Alnwick.

However, the authority’s adult services department told planners a new care home in the area could threaten existing sites, and that government policy advises care to be delivered at people’s homes.

The applicants last night insisted there is the need for such a development. Meenu Malhotra, chairman and chief executive director of the Malhotra Group, said: “Our company is very pleased to be extending our care operations for the first time into Northumberland, and we are very supportive of the planning authority and other departments who have been helpful in assisting us and advising us.”

The scheme, at the former Arriva Northumbria depot on Lisburn Terrace, is to accommodate general nursing, elderly mentally infirm and young physically disabled occupants.

However, the county’s adult services department lodged an objection, saying additional care home accommodation in the area is not “necessary or desirable” and that homes offer an “institutional” form of accommodation, which it is “both national and local policy to move away from.”

They concluded that they would not “see it as a positive development” if the viability of smaller homes in the area is undermined by the project.

Alnwick Town Council has also objected, along with 10 residents. Among them is Jean Lovie, of Chapel Lane, who last night said: “This proposed modern designed care home does not sit comfortably within historic Alnwick. How can care home facilities for 88 ill residents on one site be homely?”

Last week, the county council won a court battle with a group of care home providers, under the banner Care North East Northumberland, who had taken legal action over its decision to freeze the fees it pays them.

Newcastle City Council fought a similar battle with providers and lost . It has has previously pointed to an over-supply of beds as one of the reasons care costs are mounting. Rachel Baillie, head of commissioning for adult services at Newcastle, last year said the care industry “suffers from chronic over-capacity”.

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