History of Lindal & Marton

A village community at the heart of Furness


Parish Council

Hillcroft Nursing Home Proposal Public Meeting

Organisers Hillcroft Nursing Homes Ltd & JMP Architects Ltd
Presenters John Ayrton, Graham Kirwin, Neil Nute, Ian Nicholson
Location Buccleuch Hall, Lindal
Date 10th February 2006


A public meeting was held in the Buccleuch Hall on 10th February 2006, during which a presentation was made to village residents by the MD of Hillcroft Nursing Homes Ltd, supported by a consultant, and representatives of JMP Architects. Approximately sixty residents attended.

Jack Smith, Clerk to Lindal and Marton Parish Council, introduced the speakers. Mr Smith stated that “the Parish Council has nothing to do with the proposals, knows nothing of the details, has yet to see any planning application and is merely facilitating the meeting at the request of the architects who wish to advise local residents of what is proposed.”

Proposals were outlined for a 40-bed nursing home, and special-needs sheltered housing development on land to the east of the London Road allotments. A site plan was displayed, showing the nursing home, sheltered housing, four "affordable" homes for rental, and a possible daycare centre.

During the presentation and in the following question and answer session, clarification was given regarding Government healthcare policy, nature of planning permission being requested, legal obligations, site layout, traffic and parking, employment, affordable housing, and approximate development timescales. It was stated that a formal application for outline planning permission would be lodged with the Planning Department in the coming week.


JMP Architects were represented by two of their directors, Neil Nute and Ian Nicholson. They stated that the proposed facilities would be focused on providing care and living accommodation for the elderly, which for healthcare purposes is commonly defined as aged 55 and above. Access to the site would be from a new curved local distributor road that would connect to either end of London Road, looping around the existing allotments. This road is not part of the nursing home site planning application, as full planning permission for the road already exists in support of a new garden centre and country world centre to be built at Lindal Business Park.

The architects used a plan of the site to illustrate a possible layout. This showed a new road leading from the mid-point of the distributor road, running east up the hill away from London Road. The two-storey nursing home was shown at the end of this new road, near the top of the hill. Sheltered housing was shown in a series of curved terraces running along the contours of the hill, to the north and south of the nursing home’s access road. Possible positions for the affordable homes and day-care centre were shown on the north side of the access road.

Buffer planting and green areas were indicated, and it was stated that the sheltered houses would each have an individual, manicured garden. The presenters indicated that there were no records of mining on the site, and no requirement for major infrastructure works.

John Ayrton, Managing Director of Hillcroft Nursing Homes Ltd, described his company as the largest provider of nursing homes in the Lancaster and Morecambe area. The company owns and runs nursing homes in Lancaster, Carnforth and Morecambe.

Mr Ayrton and his consultant, Graham Kirwin, explained that Government policy is to enable people to live in their own homes for as long as possible, and only to enter a nursing home when in need of 24-hour care. Currently there is a shortage of nursing home places in Furness and South Cumbria. Many frail people remain in hospitals unnecessarily, which is unacceptable and demoralising for them, and also blocks hospital beds. The special-needs sheltered housing proposed would enable some of these people to live in an environment where they can receive social services support but maintain a degree of independence.

The plans include a possible day-care facility to enable health and support services to be provided locally, eg chiropody.

Questions & Answers

Following the presentation, village residents asked a number of questions which the presenters answered as follows:

Q The junction of London Road and the A590 is already very busy, and will probably be made worse by additional traffic to and from the nursing home site. What is being done to address this?
A Highway studies are ongoing. The curved distributor road has already been approved and needs no further permission. It is anticipated that the site will generate a low level of car usage. JMP Architects will submit a traffic-impact assessment to the Planning Authority in the coming week. The Highways Authority will determine what junction improvements are required, if any. The developers have offered to contribute substantially towards installation of traffic lights at the junction of London Road and the A590.
Q Could younger disabled people occupy the sheltered housing, and will there be guest facilities?
A This is only an outline application at this stage. The prime purpose of the development is to provide a nursing home and sheltered accommodation for people aged 55 and above. The local Planning Authority will have an input to determining the mix of accommodation types, and a legal Section 106 agreement will bind the occupancy conditions. It is not intended that the facilities be used for younger people, although this could be considered if a demand is identified. Each sheltered house will probably have two bedrooms, one of which could accommodate a carer or guest if required.
Q How will the sheltered accommodation and affordable housing be managed?
A The sheltered housing will be managed by a management company, and will be bought by the occupants on a leasehold arrangement. It may be that a sequential test is built into the occupancy conditions to give priority to potential buyers from the local population. Housing that becomes vacant will be re-sold by the management company, which will be responsible for ensuring that occupancy conditions continue to be met. It is proposed that a housing association or other social landlord will manage the affordable housing part of the development, which will be for rent only.
Q Have any other developments like this taken place in villages of a similar size to Lindal?
A No. This is a small development of its type, and we know of no similar schemes.
Q Is there any guarantee that the facility will not be filled up with people from outside the local area?
A It is probable that priority for places will be given to local people. It is thought that local people, given the current lack of existing residential care facilities, will easily fill the facility, but it is likely that some people from outside the immediate area will also be accommodated.
Q Given that there is no village shop in Lindal, how will elderly people in the sheltered housing do their shopping?
A It is possible that a community shop could be included in the development if the Parish Council or Planning Authority identifies a need. However, this is not included in the outline planning proposal. Otherwise, support services will be able to shop on behalf of residents.
Q Will the sheltered houses have garages?
A No. Each sheltered house will have car parking space but it is anticipated that the level of car use will be low.
Q Will existing houses on London Road be overlooked?
A The allotments will be retained, forming a buffer between London Road and the new development. Normal planning guidelines are to allow 21m between properties. On this site the distance between the closest new home to an existing home in London Road is approximately 45m, which would not be deemed as overbearing. There will be tree-planting and screening.
Q Is any land being put aside for people in London Road to park on?
A Changes to London Road and construction of the curved distributor road are not part of this development and there is no provision for extra parking. London Road residents should consult with the Planning Authority if they have parking concerns.
Q Why is the affordable housing for rental rather than for sale?
A Experience shows that the only beneficiary of affordable housing built for sale is the initial purchaser. They are able to re-sell the house at going market rates. There is no mechanism for controlling affordability unless the houses are rented.
Q What are the employment requirements of the site?
A 35 to 40 full-time equivalent people will be employed to run the nursing home. Additional people will be required to provide care packages to the sheltered housing, and there will be further jobs for maintenance staff and groundsmen.
Q When will building work start?
A The planning process normally takes at least three months for outline approval. Discussions would then take place regarding detailed plans, followed by a full planning application. All being well, building work could start around the end of 2006 and it could take 12 to 18 months to build the nursing home.
Q Have other potential sites been identified locally?
A No. Hillcroft have been investigating sites in the area for the last few years, and this is the first suitable site that has been identified.
Q The building style seems to be different from the rest of the Lindal village and looks like it has been transplanted from the south of England.
A This is a subjective view that the architects would not agree with. They have looked at precedents and have deliberately gone for a small-scale development that they feel is in keeping with the area.
Q Will road alterations to London Road be completed before the start of building work on the nursing home site?
A We don’t know, but the planning authorities may make it a condition to develop the road first.
Q Is the number of nursing home beds and sheltered houses commercially viable?
A Yes. The precise balance will be agreed with the Planning Authority.
Q How can this development take place on a green-field site which is outside the village residential cordon?
A Residential cordons are not sacrosanct. National policy is that exceptions can be made. Developers of nursing homes and affordable homes cannot afford to compete with developers for brown-field sites.
Q What allowance is being made on the site for cars?
A The nursing home plan includes 18 car parking spaces for nursing home staff and visitors. Shifts are spread out with various start and finish times, so traffic impact on existing roads should be minimal.
Q Will the site be connected to the antiquated drainage system in London Road?
A The architects have consulted with United Utilities and are aware of historical problems with drains backing up. It is proposed that a new sewer will be installed to connect the site directly with the main sewer at the A590, thus avoiding the London Road sewer.
Q There is concern that provision of affordable housing may introduce new social problems to the village.
A The affordable houses were included in the outline plan in recognition of a perceived village need that was identified in a survey conducted about five years ago. They could be removed from the proposal if locals feel that they are not desirable.
Q What will be the arrangement regarding sale of the land to the developer if the planning application is successful?
A The landowner and developer are submitting the planning application jointly. Arrangements have not been finalised for ownership of the land if the application is successful.

Meeting notes written by Neil Fleming.

See also: