Care home boss slates planners

By Rob George Thursday 29 May 2014 Updated: 03/06 11:12

A FURIOUS care home boss has savaged planners accusing them of incompetence' after a year long battle to build much needed homes for the elderly.

Mike Gimson, chairman of Moundsley Healthcare Group, says they have spent an estimated £18,000 in application fees in an attempt to build 154 extra care or supported living bungalows on green belt land in Kings Norton next to the Moundsley Hall Care Village.

A planning application was first submitted to Bromsgrove District Council - responsible for planning issues around the site despite it being owned by Birmingham City Council - in June last year.

Mr Gimson said it followed an approach by Bromsgrove councillors to help find sites to build 550 of the properties, which are similar to a care home but allow people more independence. The figure was later revised upwards to 1,725.

The site was chosen because it was next to Moundsley Hall which has previously been designated a special needs site meaning normal green belt restrictions can be waived.

But planners have so far refused to even consider the application saying they need more information on whether or not green belt rules can be overridden and it is rumoured they are considering throwing it out.

Mr Gimson claimed guidelines in the Government's National Planning Policy Framework on supported living would outweigh any reasons for refusal.

Speaking ahead of a meeting on Wednesday (May 28) with planners to try and resolve the situation he told the Standard: "We have expressed our concerns to our Member of Parliament Sajid Javid saying Bromsgrove planning department are not working in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework.

“I think it’s a tragedy and it shows the incompetence of Bromsgrove District Council’s planning department which has to be witnessed to be believed.

"We are talking about employing 100 extra people to help run this development. Extra care supported living is the way forward for the elderly population in this country, the Government recognises it, the Care Quality Commission recognises it but it doesn’t appear Bromsgrove does."

But Ruth Bamford, head of planning and regeneration at Bromsgrove District Council, said: "We have explained to the applicant that they have not submitted enough information to enable their application to be processed. This is one of the reasons the application has not been registered.

"Furthermore and as we have also explained, the land in question is green belt. Just like with any such application, unless the applicant provides information demonstrating the very special circumstances that could outweigh green belt protection, it is unlikely that a development would be appropriate."

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