Green light to extend Fernhurst mental health centre

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A nursing home near Fernhurst has been given the go-ahead for a major addition to its premises.

Rosemary Park Nursing Home was given the green light by the South Downs National Park Authority at its planning meeting last week.

The home is a mental health nursing home specialising in care of people aged over 30.

The plans, which include creating a car park and staff accommodation on the site of a tennis court.

The plans, submitted by Oldercare Ltd also include ancillary nursing home accommodation which will feature a physiotherapy suite, consulting rooms for health professionals, offices and a kitchen.

The plans had received objections from residents living in Marley Lane, but the national park’s planning committee said the nursing home had demonstrated an ‘overiding need’ for the development to be situated in the countryside location. It said the development would not have any significant adverse impact on the area.

Lynchmere Parish Council said it did not object to the application in principle and recognised Rosemary Park as a centre of excellence in its field.

But it said because of the number of objections, it wanted to see a number of conditions set including an independent traffic assessment to confirm it would have a neutral effect on traffic movements in Marley Lane to reassure residents or that improvements should be made to the road if permission was granted.

In its comments the parish council said it noted there had been numerous applications for the site over the years.

“Whilst it is inevitable that there should be an evolving need for facilities in a successful business like Rosemary Park, account must be taken of the fact that it is situated in an area of great scenic value and on a small country lane appropriate to residential and not business traffic.

“For this reason it is likely that we would object to further planning applications in the future.”

Some residents said the plans were an ‘over-development’ of the site and that its continued expansion was placing an unacceptable burden on Marley Lane.

The home said the plans would fully develop the under used tennis court.

The two-storey building would include 14 bedrooms for staff plus communal facilities, while a total of 35 car parking spaces would be provided. Staff would be increased from 30 to 40 people.

In its plans the home said: “The level of care and particularly one-to-one care has increased at both Rosemary Park and St Magnus House over the last 18 months.”

It said offering on-site accommodation would enable it to provide added value and continuity to recruitment .

“It also reduces the dependency on agency staff who are at present covering a number of posts due to the high cost of accommodation in the area,” said the plans.

The home also said dedicated parking would improve the look of the site and that because the site was lower than the access road, the building would appear as a single storey building.