Council rejects plans for care home

Controversial plans to build a care home in Bushey have been rejected following a planning meeting of Hertsmere Borough Council.

This follows a widespread campaign, more than 100 letters of objection from residents and refusal from Hertsmere councilors.

On Thursday evening, 11 councillors unanimously rejected the plans for a 75-bedroom residential home on part of the historic Reveley Lodge estate, in Elstree Road.

The application represented the second attempt by developer Signature to obtain permission from Hertsmere Council for the residential home.

Revised plans were submitted after the care-home builder withdrew its first application at the eleventh hour before it was due to be assessed in July.

The Bushey Heath Residents’ Association (BHRA) spearheaded a campaign against the build, resulting in 105 letters of objection being sent to Hertsmere Council, with just two in support.

Linda Rauch, chairwoman of BHRA, said she felt justice had been done as a result of the refusal.

She said: “We feel like David has won the battle against Goliath.

“The plans were unanimously rejected because it would have been an overdevelopment of the area, inadequate drainage and parking, and because the build was out of character.

“We have fought long and hard for this result, there is plenty of care home provision in Bushey and no need for any more.

“They’ve just shut NHS-run Windmill House, so why build another care home if it was fine to close the other?

“Lots of people turned out to the meeting and either raised their hands or took to their feet to show they did not want this development.

“There has been a lot of community support for our campaign, residents do not want another care home on their doorsteps.”

Campaign members had previously criticised the Bushey Museum < Property Trust, which owns the land, for agreeing to sell the site that is widely regarded as the last piece of the original Bushey heath.

But the trust argued that it needed to make the sale, thought to be in the region of £4million and dependent on planning permission being obtained, to raise money for the upkeep of the Victorian Reveley Lodge estate.

Mrs Rauch said: “As far as I’m concerned, the whole community was sold out when Bushey Museum agreed to sell the land.

“Thankfully justice has prevailed. Developers have not been allowed to run roughshod over residents, our opinions have been taken into account by the council.

“I only hope that Signature doesn’t appeal the decision or put in another application - that they take on board the feelings of residents.

“Otherwise we will be forced to continue fighting against these plans. We will not be walked over.”

David Roe, from Signature Senior Lifestyle, expressed disappointment at the planning refusal.

He said: “Our proposals would have provided much-needed, high-quality care accommodation for around 75 frail, elderly people, addressing an identified and significant shortfall in Hertsmere as well as creating 80 new jobs.

“We will now need to review our options.”

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