Listed workhouse residents consider protest to Ministers over St Ives care home

RESIDENTS of a listed former Victorian workhouse may ask Ministers to review the way a 72-bed care home on the site of the former St Ives Motel next door was given planning permission on Monday.

Care UK Community Partnerships was granted permission by Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management panel to demolish the single-storey motel and 16 letting rooms on the half-hectare site to make way for the care home for frail and elderly people.

The proposals were supported by Hemingford Grey Parish and St Ives Town Councils, the Environment Agency, highways department and NHS, but residents of apartments in Limes Park, a Grade II-listed former workhouse next door were furious that their objections had been ignored by the panel.

They complained that the site would be cramped, their homes in the two-storey Limes would be dominated by the three-storey care home, and the pile-driving could damage their homes.

Yesterday they told The Hunts Post that the two-storey front elevation had been cleverly designed to match Limes Park, and they agreed that it looked impressive.

But they said the three-storey side elevation, which they would have to look at, was ugly and had no merit.

“We aren’t allowed a conservatory, and yet they can put up this monstrosity only 30 metres away,” said one.

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Another, Georgina Harvey Batten, added: “We are devastated by the decision to allow a building that will tower over Limes Park by nearly 12 feet. Their answer was to put opaque glass in half a dozen windows. It’s insulting.

“They wouldn’t even consider deferring the matter in order to reach a better compromise. Limes Park has been here for 175 years. It was shocking watching these councillors in action. Hardly any asked the questions that concerned us.”

Councillor Ian Bates, who represents The Hemingfords on the council, spoke against the application.

Planners said the setting of the listed building would not be compromised, and the neighbours would not be overlooked.

The residents said they would be making a formal complaint to HDC’s senior officers about the unsatisfactory way the matter had been handled, and would also consider approaching the heritage minister to check that the planning authority’s decision was in accordance with its obligation to protect listed buildings from adverse effects of new developments.