Councillors approve care home rebuild despite heritage objections

The Victorian Society describe Arnold House in The Ridgeway as “a rare survivor in the area”, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

Arnold House as it looks now (left) and plans for its redevelopment (right) (credit DAP Architects)
Arnold House as it looks now (left) and plans for its redevelopment (right) (credit DAP Architects)

A care home is set to undergo “major” redevelopment which will see the current two-storey building replaced with a new 95-bed residence – doubling its size.

Applicant Geras Estates Ltd plans to replace Arnold House, located in The Ridgeway, with a new four-storey care home and two car parks.

The site, which has been vacant for two years, does not include any listed buildings, however the primary building has been classified as a ‘non-designated heritage asset’ as it is a “rare example of Edwardian architecture within this section of The Ridgeway”. 

For this reason, heritage officers and the Victorian Society objected to the demolition of Arnold House.

Explaining their objection, a spokesperson from the Victorian Society said: “This building is a rare survivor in the area and a good example of a large, early 20th Century house with many fine interior features. It would be possible to retain the building as part of the redevelopment of the site, and proposals like this represent a poor way of treating existing buildings when adaptation and restoration is known to be more environmentally friendly.” 

Complaints from local residents included fears of increased on-street parking and traffic and the new building being too high, too close to adjoining properties, and having inadequate access. The only access point is off The Ridgeway with a second access point having been closed off. 

But at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday, 21st November, councillors voted to approve the application.

Alongside the 95 beds, the proposal designed by DAP Architecture features plans for seven day-lounges, seven quiet rooms, a café/bistro, a games room, a tea-room, a beauty salon, a drawing room, a study room and library, a cinema and a landscape amenity area. 

The parking provision includes 17 outdoor parking spaces (including two disabled spaces), basement car parking providing 24 spaces, cycle storage for 40 bikes used by staff, and five public cycle spaces.

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