Fears over care home plans

The Carlin Gate Rest Home at 4 Carlin Gate.
The Carlin Gate Rest Home at 4 Carlin Gate.
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Plans to expand two Bispham nursing homes, creating new jobs, have sparked objections from neighbours.

Belsfield Care wants to provide extra en-suite rooms and new lounges by building ground and first floor extensions at St Stephen’s Rest Home, on St Stephen’s Avenue, and at the Carlin Gate Rest Home, at Carlin Gate, linking the two buildings together.

The homes cater for people with dementia and brain injuries, and the proposals would create a specialist unit for dealing with challenging behaviour, including a 
sensory garden.

Belsfield says, currently, residents sometimes have to be moved to specialist units as far away as Stockport or Leeds.

It wants to demolish two four-bed houses it owns at Carlin Gate and replace them with two three-bed houses. The large back gardens would be reduced in size to provide extra parking spaces and amenity space.

But similar proposals were refused by Blackpool Council last July amid objections by some neighbours, who have again raised concerns including possible disturbance from staff, patients and deliveries, overlooking of their homes and the potential for adding to existing problems with parking and traffic.

All those issues were raised in an objection by Barry Walsh and Gladys Laird of St Stephen’s Avenue, who said: “These residents, due to their conditions, are extremely noisy, shouting and screaming from their rooms...if he (the owner) is going to allow them into this new garden, which will be at the bottom, of our garden we will lose the pleasure and privacy of our garden.”

Three other neighbours objected, as did Robert 
McDougall, of Patterdale 
Avenue, Marton, who fears the impact of the building work on residents at the homes, including his brother who is at the Carlin Gate home.

“They will be unable to 
escape the dreadful daily and long-term noisy building work alongside them and reverberating in the care homes and in their bedrooms,” he said.

The council’s planning 
report recommends refusal of the latest plans.

It cites ‘contradicting information’ in the application. The number of new jobs to be created is stated as both 25 and 10, while the number of new parking spaces down as both four and five. The number of existing bedrooms is variously stated as being 64, 71 and 72, while the number of extra bedrooms proposed is referred to as being 10, 11 and 14 within the application.

The council report has taken the correct numbers to be 72 existing bedrooms, with 10 additional bedrooms to be built, but says this is an 
‘over-concentration’ of bed spaces and that type of use, and that the extensions would impact upon the area’s open feel and residential character.

The report says the link extension would overlook neighbours on St Stephen’s Avenue, that the rear car park proposed is ‘substandard’ and raises concerns over the 
access and impact of increased on-street parking,

It adds that there are at least 20 care homes in Blackpool catering for people with dementia and that there is no evidence that 6 and 8 Carlin Gate could not be brought back into use.

But Belsfield says in its application it has addressed the issues previously raised and revised the lay-out of windows to deal with concerns over overlooking.

It says there are only two or three other specialist providers in Blackpool and specialist hospital wings are closing.

The application says the company is aware of only one complaint about disturbance from its residents in the last five years. The council’s planning committee is at 2.30pm on Monday.