Barrow Hospital plans move forward

AMBITIOUS plans to build a multi-million pound care village and 43 homes at the site of a former hospital in Barrow Gurney have moved a step closer to being sanctioned.

Barrow Hospital in Wild Country Lane was last used as a mental health hospital until it closed in 2006 and since then its future has remained uncertain.

However, on Thursday, plans to spend more than �16million developing the site were given the nod by North Somerset Council’s central area planning committee.

A care village, for people aged 65 or over in need of care or support, would be created by redeveloping the former hospital buildings and constructing new facilities.

A core building will include 23 close care units, 38 linked assistant living units and communal facilities including a kitchen, restaurant, caf�, library, hairdresser and convenience shop.

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A Wellness Suite will feature a swimming pool, gym, health studio and treatment rooms. These facilities will be available for the general public to use.

Separate detached buildings will include 98 assisted living units and a 56-bed dementia care unit. An area has also been allocated for a further 43 assisted living units.

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The proposals, which will generate 180 new jobs, have been compiled by English Care Villages, Midas Construction and the site owner Del Piero.

Their plans also include building 43 five-bed detached houses with garages.

North Somerset councillor for Barrow Gurney Geoff Coombs said: “There is a tremendous level of public support for the care village. The housing is a little bit controversial.

“I was aware some people were not in favour of it but because of the inter-related nature of the two applications and the fact the housing provides infrastructure for the care village I felt on balance that I should support the housing.

“After eight years of planning applications we have arrived at a reasonable compromise.”

On Thursday, members of North Somerset Council’s central area planning committee voted in favour of the plans.

However, because this went against the recommendation of the authority’s planning officers, the final decision will now be made at a meeting of its Planning and Regulatory Committee on February 29.

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