Giant £33m home for elderly wins approval

February 27, 2008 12:00 AM
By Piers Meyler in Brentwood Gazette
The Beeches - how it will look

London Road - how it will look

A Planned £33million residential home for 109 pensioners has been described as "overwhelming".

American-based Sunrise Senior Living will be charging a minimum of £700 per week - £36,400 annually - per resident for its new home to be built in Brentwood.The company will open the home within two years after its plans were agreed by borough councillors at a meeting last week, against officer recommendation.

Four properties in the Beeches - opposite the BT building on London Road - will be demolished to make way for the 89-room four-storey development.

Though only one formal letter of objection had been received against the plans, South West Essex PCT opposed them arguing the development would overstretch health resources.

Lib Dem ward councillor Karen Chilvers added: "I have absolutely no problem with having a care home on the site and I do agree that more elderly care beds are needed.

"However, the size and scale of this development is totally overwhelming.

"The four houses to be demolished are set right back and hidden from the road, but this will sprawl right out into London Road.

"A smaller building with fewer storeys would have been much more appropriate, given the over-development in Brentwood West."

She added: "It is wholly inappropriate to press ahead with these plans without the full support of the local PCT and GP community."

Russell Quirk, chairman of the planning committee, said councillors rejected the views of officers because there would be a net gain of houses and the development had to be seen in context of its proximity to the BT building.

He said PCT doubts on care need in the borough and pressures on surgeries were seen as baseless.

Sunrise has argued 535 more residential beds will be needed in the area by 2017.

It also says much-needed homes will be released on to the market when elderly people move in.

A spokesman said: "We do everything we possibly can to aid the local community.

"We have to rent these rooms out time and time again and the last thing we want to do is act against the wishes of the community."