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Councillors urged to back plan for care home near new McDonald's and Starbucks outlets in Downham

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A care home, capable of accommodating dozens of elderly people, could be built near a new supermarket and takeaways under proposals going before councillors next week.

Developers say the facility in Bexwell Road, Downham would help to meet a "critical local need" if it gets the go-ahead.

But critics have raised concerns about the extent of development already earmarked for the area.

Construction work has begun on the Starbucks and McDonald's outlets planned for Bexwell Road, Downham.
Construction work has begun on the Starbucks and McDonald's outlets planned for Bexwell Road, Downham.

Outline permission is being sought for a 72-bedroom development at 157 and 159 Bexwell Road.

Building work is already underway on new McDonald's and Starbucks outlets nearby, while discount retailer Lidl wants to build a new supermarket in the vicinity.

Objections raised to the plan include traffic safety fears and a perceived lack of on-site parking capacity, though county Highways officials have raised no objection.

But the applicants, Aspire LPP, say the scheme is essential to help meet both current and future needs.

Its case for the scheme, summarised in a report to West Norfolk Council's planning committee which meets next Monday, November 8, argues there is already a shortfall of nearly 200 bed places within a 10 kilometre radius of the site.

It forecasts that figure will grow to nearly 300 over the next decade.

The applicant said: "The proposal assists in meeting a critical local need in the Downham Market area.

"This is a generous sized plot capable of accommodating a care home of a sufficient size to ensure it is viable from an end operator perspective."

Town councillors have objected to the proposal, arguing the size of the proposed three-storey development is "disproportionate" for the area.

But the report shows that a majority of public comments are in favour of the scheme proceeding.

Borough council officials, who have recommended that the scheme is approved, reported: "Officers consider that the overriding need for the proposed facility in this area, and the economic benefits it brings should be given significant weight in the decision-making process.

"There are no technical objections and whilst issues of design and scale need to be considered, officers believe they are in any case acceptable, and will lead to the provision of a gateway building into the town."

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