An outline planning application has been submitted to demolish a former care home, situated off Old Lane in The Warren, and build a modern facility in its place.
Pinewood Manor Care Home closed in July 2018, after the company Ampersand Care Limited went into liquidation; with the remaining residents having to be found alternative accommodation.
The original building was built in the early 20th century, but the care home had been repeatedly extended and altered over the years to provide additional bedrooms.
In 2016 Pinewood Manor was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC); but following improvements to staffing levels and the installation of a modern fire safety system, the watchdog gave the care home a “Good” rating in 2018.
Extensive marketing to find a new owner generated little interest; due to the failure of the previous operation, condition of the building and the level of investment required to meet CQC standards.
The site has recently been subject of an application (Ref: WD/2020/0952/F) to convert the existing building into a 18-unit House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Wealden District Council refused the application in 2020, because the site is adjacent to the Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area. The planning authority said the effects of increased traffic and pet ownership could not be mitigated against. It was argued increased human activity from use as a large MHO would have an adverse impact on the heathland habitat and disturbance to rare bird species. The applicants Elliott and Elliott Property Development Company Limited appealed the decision, but their appeal was dismissed by a Planning Inspector.
The current application is from KSD Group Limited. They believe a new modern care facility would be commercially viable.
They propose to demolish the existing building and replace it with a 76-bed complex built over 3.5 storeys. Pinewood Manor provided care for 31 older people – the proposed new building will be one storey higher and will accommodate over twice the number of residents. The applicants argue the additional floor is required to ensure the care home would be of a scale to ensure its viability.
The new building would be further away from the site boundary and neighbouring properties on Pinewood Chase and Old Lane.
The existing entrance and access would be retained.
The outline planning application deals with the principle of development and means of access only.
Indicative drawing and diagrams are provided in the Design & Access Statement; but the actual design, layout and appearance of the building, as well as landscaping scheme, is subject to a later “reserved matters” application.
Click to see the documents submitted for consideration by the local planning authority: Planning and Building Control – Wealden District Council (Ref: WD/2021/1316/MAO).