Upmarket care home proposed for St Neots factory site

11:39 20 March 2014

New Care Home for Eaton Socon. Junction of Little End Road and Nelson road.

New Care Home for Eaton Socon. Junction of Little End Road and Nelson road.

Archant

An upmarket care home and a new housing development have been proposed for an old factory site in Eaton Socon.

New Care Home for Eaton Socon. Junction of Little End Road and Nelson road.New Care Home for Eaton Socon. Junction of Little End Road and Nelson road.

Developers want to regenerate the run-down site on Little End Road by building a 70-bedroom nursing and care facility for elderly people alongside 40 new homes, 30 or 40 per cent of which would be affordable housing.

The proposals are in the early stages and planning permission has not yet been sought.

Representatives from the developers, a town planner and the architect for the project, attended a meeting of St Neots Town Council to give a presentation on Thursday (March 13).

Duncan Ford, development director of Frontier Estates, said: “Initially we see our role as developers as driving forward the redevelopment of what we see as being quite a tired and redundant site and to convert it for an alternative use which first of all meets a need within the community, secondly generates some jobs, and thirdly represents an environmental improvement to what’s there at the moment.”

The developers said they aim to create a “community within the building” with modern features including a hair salon and a cinema room. There would also be a “landscape buffer” on the side closest to the A1 and a new access point from Nelson Road. It is estimated that the care home would create 80 jobs, mostly part-time roles.

However, councillors raised concerns about what they considered to be inadequate parking provision and the loss of much-needed high-tech jobs for the town, which could be created if it remained as an industrial building. They also questioned the need for another care home.

Roger Harrison, district town councillor for Eaton Socon, said: “It is a big area to lose and it’s not going to provide particularly a lot of jobs. I don’t believe that this is a good place and it’s also far too close to the A1.”

County, district and town councillor Barry Chapman said: “What I see here is a care home with 70-odd beds and we have a major shortage of cemetery land in the town. The more people we have that are going through your care home the greater pressure on our cemetery land and I think that these sort of proposals ought to carry that sort of responsibility.”

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