Planners back bid for new dementia home in Heacham

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Proposals to build new dementia care facilities at a Heacham care home have won the support of planning officials.

An application to expand the Summerville residential home on Fenway is due to be debated by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee on Monday.

But officers have recommended that the scheme is approved because the additional care provision will address a known local need.

The project allows for the demolition of an existing cottage on the Summerville site and the construction of a new building containing 35 bedrooms for residents, plus five for staff.

The home, which is operated by Armscare, already has accommodation for 26 residents, including people living with dementia.

And the company claims the development could create up to 35 new jobs for the area.

It said: “We sincerely believe that there is a greater need for further high dependency bed spaces in this corner of Norfolk.

“We believe that, as a company, we have the skill and the aptitude to provide the appropriate level of care.

“There are very few homes which offer such specialist dementia care for those who are highly dependent, in this region.”

The application has opposed by Heacham parish council, which is concerned about the potential impact of the development on Fenway, an unadopted private road, as well as noise, traffic and drainage issues.

There have also been 15 letters of objection raising those concerns and others, such as a possible impact on wildlife.

But officers concluded: “The proposal will provide additional dementia care spaces for which there is an identified need.

“Whilst it will result in the loss of a non-designated heritage asset in the form of the cottage, the design of the replacement building references its agricultural context. The loss of the asset is considered to be outweighed by the benefit of providing the additional care spaces.

“Material harm in other respects is limited and it is recommended that permission should be granted.”