A FINAL decision on controversial plans to demolish Malvern’s old community hospital and replace it with a care home will be made today (Wednesday).
Developer Caring Homes Group/Montpelier Estates is hoping their plans to build a 46-bed home on the site at Lansdowne Crescent will be approved at Malvern Hills District Council’s southern area planning committee meeting tonight.
In 2015 the Colchester-based firm had submitted two different applications, one in a traditional style and one more modern, to build on the site but both were rejected by council planners on the grounds of the loss of an historic building and the size of the proposed replacements.
However, this time around the planners are recommending approval.
A committee report published by the district council said: “There is a growing need for suitable accommodation for the elderly in Malvern.
“Following the refusal of the earlier application, which was in part on design grounds, the applicant sought to engage the MADE design panel as part of the process for redesigning a scheme.
“This new contemporary design approach, whilst different to the surrounding prevailing character of traditional buildings, would not sit uncomfortably when viewed against the surrounding development.”
The future of the site at Lansdowne Crescent was thrown up into the air following the opening of the new community hospital on Worcester Road, Malvern Link, in 2010.
However, civic society chiefs have expressed their concerns over the potential design of the new care home which will be built in the Great Malvern Conservation Area.
They believe the plans are not traditional enough to fit in with the surrounding houses near the site and those on Church Street.
Civic society vice-president Roger Sutton said: “Our concern is over the historical and heritage appearance of the new care home.
“The current design is going to be very modern with lots of stained glass and stainless steel which is not going to fit in particularly well with the surrounding area.
“We just want something which is traditional as the site is around 100 years old.
“I understand it is difficult for developers to adapt older buildings but they should bare it in mind as it’s what the community will want.”
Historic England objected to the plans as they felt the loss of the building had not been justified while The Victorian Society added they were against the development as it would be harmful to the ‘character and appearance’ of the conservation area.