Councillors have rejected plans for a new care home in Stonehaven, which had been described as a “blueprint” for the future of the sector.
Developer Scape Homes put forward the proposals for the “state of the art” 57-bedroom facility featuring a cinema, gym and rooftop garden.
It had been planned to be built on land which was formerly a gasworks close to the harbour, and which has been empty for decades.
Residents complained about potential traffic woes
Aberdeenshire Council officers had urged members of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee to throw out the plans ahead of a virtual meeting today.
They suggested that the home would cause traffic problems on the street, despite the blueprint outlining 26 parking spaces at the site.
Andrew Jack said the site, bound by Wallace Wynd to the east and Cowgate to the west, would help integrate older people into the community – a Care Inspectorate recommendation for all such homes going forward.
Mr Jack, who has lived in Stonehaven for more than 20 years, previously worked on student accommodation sites and became inspired to create care homes of an equivalent standard when he realised that many fell short of expectations.
He also highlighted the need for more care homes in the future as Aberdeenshire contends with a growing elderly population.
But the members of the committee unanimously voted to reject the proposal this afternoon.
Committee convener Wendy Agnew, herself a Stonehaven resident, said the roads surrounding the site were designed “for horses and carts” and residents already faced serious difficulties getting parked.
She added: “The scale, density and overbearing and intrusive nature of the development does not respect the scale, density and character of the surrounding area.
“There are massive problems in that area at times.
“I go down quite a lot and at times I don’t take my car, because there is no point.
“This is not an easy site at all.”
Roads chief outlines concerns
Council roads boss Kenn Clark had earlier told the elected members about the potential worsening of traffic issues in the area.
He explained that, in order to ensure sufficient space around the proposed facility, about 20 residents could be robbed of their parking spaces with double yellow lines being added to narrow roads.
He said: “At present, some refuse vehicles have issues getting in and out of there, and the likes of Albert Lane would not accommodate a fire truck at the best of times.
“There are existing problems there for larger vehicles, and what we are talking about here is introducing a large development that would require additional refuse vehicles servicing it.
“We would not want to exacerbate that existing situation.”
Mr Jack declined to comment on the decision today.
He previously stressed that the design put forward, taking into account various Covid safety precautions, served as a “blueprint” for how all care homes will operate in the future.
The entrepreneur had also insisted that the 26 parking spaces, plus a space for an ambulance, already factored into plans for the site are more than enough.
He said: “That is a lot more than most care homes of a similar size in the north-east have, and it is coming at a time when the country is putting more focus on sustainable travel.”
Mr Jack added: “This would be a purpose-built, state of the art care home taking into account Covid requirements.
“Among other things, there are no more than 10 beds to each area, all with their own assisted bathrooms.
“It is a blueprint for how care homes are going to be in the future, with this design already adapted to consider Covid challenges.”