Controversial plans to turn a former Spalding care home into flats could be expanded to include six houses as well.
Developers won an appeal over plans to convert Halmer Grange Nursing Home into 17 one and two-bedroom flats last August after they were initially thrown out by South Holland District Council in March 2015.
Hertfordshire-based developers Market Homes Ltd now want to add six, two-bedroom homes, to the 17 flats, claiming that it is “the best use of the site” while “sympathetic to its surrounding neighbours”.
Residents living near the site had previously mounted a campaign against the development over fears that it was “inappropriate, potentially doubling the entire population of Grange Drive in one fell swoop”.
A statement from residents to the Spalding Guardian in May 2014 said: “Halmer Grange was built in the 1960s and used as a residential care facility, providing accommodation for around 20 clients.
“The developer, Market Homes Ltd, proposes to convert this rather restricted building into 17 flats and build six maisonettes.
We can’t leave the former Halmer Grange care home empty, but the change has to be appropriate, proportionate and enjoy community supportJohn Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings
“More than 80 people could live on this one site, potentially doubling the entire population of Grange Drive in one fell swoop.
“This is an inappropriate over-development of a very restricted site and many a time we have witnessed fire engines attempting to access it – on practice runs, fortunately.”
The plans were also opposed by South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes and Coun Gary Porter, leader of South Holland District Council, who did however call for “a sympathetic conversion of Halmer Grange”.
Meanwhile, Mr Hayes said: “We can’t leave the former Halmer Grange care home empty, but the change has to be appropriate, proportionate and enjoy community support.”
However, a planning inspector ruled that the new flats would be of “significant benefit” to the area and that Grange Drive “has sufficient capacity to absorb” them.
The future for Halmer Grange Nursing Home was bright in 1999 when it received a good report from care quality inspectors.
But in 2009, Lincolnshire County Council announced plans to replace Halmer Grange and seven other care homes in the county with so-called extra care housing.
Halmer Grange finally shut in September 2011 and was put on the market six months later, with an asking price of £400,000, before plans to convert into homes and flats first emerged in November 2013.
After a 20-month fight against the plans, Market Homes Ltd got the go-ahead to develop Halmer Grange from the Planning Inspectorate in August 2015, initially for just the flats.
But in this application, Market Homes Ltd said: “This proposal will enhance the sense of community by introducing new families to an opportunity to be part of a typical market town community.”