NEW specialist accommodation for young adults with disabilities will soon be built in Winsford despite concerns it could disturb neighbours.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee unanimously gave Annesley Property permission to build a new supporting living facility in Darnhall School Lane last Thursday.

The development will include four one-bedroom apartments, one four-bedroom apartment and one six-bedroom apartment, and will be build on a site which was previously had a similar facility for four teenagers.

But Cllr Malcolm Gaskill, Liberal Democrat CWAC member for Swanlow, warned that neighbours could suffer if the development went ahead – based on past issues at similar facilities.

“No one doubts the value of care in the community,” he said.

Winsford Guardian:

“But when the management and staff of these facilities fail to ensure the safety of those in their care, are indifferent to concerns raised by residents, and generally behave in an unneighbourly way.

“Thoughtless parking of vehicles, allowing rubbish to fly around in the wind on bin collection day, have the police attending on a regular basis – on one occasion we had 19 visits by the police in about three weeks until the management finally conceded and removed a particular client from a particular facility.

“It comes therefore as no surprise that residents of Swanlow ward are very wary of this kind of facility.”

However, planning officer Fiona Hore reminded the committee that issues over management and the behaviour of residents were not for consideration in the planning process.

Cllr Gaskill also raised concerns about the increased size of the new facility, while neighbour John Oakes suggested it would cause a ‘decimation’ of the environment.

CWAC planning officers had recommended the scheme for approval ahead of the meeting, and Michael Gilbert, representing Annesley, told councillors the firm had worked ‘in a positive and proactive manner’ with officers to get the scheme right.

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He said: “The scheme does have full commissioner support from adult social care within this local authority.

“It is being delivered for, and in partnership with, this local authority to meet the acute need for this type of specialised accommodation in the area.

“It is intended to be an exemplar, flagship development, that will set a benchmark in terms of quality and design for future developments of this nature – and will help people in the local community looking for suitable accommodation for their children and relatives.”

And the committee agreed that the accommodation would be a welcome addition for the borough – while admitting many of the concerns raised by residents were not planning considerations.

Cllr Jill Houlbrook, Conservative member for Upton, said: “This is going to be people living in the community, along with the rest of the community, and as a caring authority I think we should welcome this kind of facility.

Winsford Guardian:

“It’s absolutely great that somebody has taken the initiative to do something with the building that quite clearly is in a dilapidated state.”

Cllr Phil Herbert, independent member for Hartford and Greenbank, added: “Care in the community means just that.

“If that is going to be upheld, it has to be in some community somewhere, and I didn’t see any detriment really to the surrounding district.”