Penicuik Care home gets go-ahead despite objections

Councillors give care home green light despite objections v.1

A new luxury care home in a residential estate will be ordered to open its facilities to locals in a bid to make it part of the community.

Plans for the new 54-bed home by Morrison Community Care Group were approved at a meeting of Midlothian Council’s planning committee this week despite 71 objections.

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And concerns were raised by the county’s health chief over the lack of GP services available to care for the new residents.

Morag Barrow, joint director of Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, told the meeting: “We do need more care home beds in Midlothian but in this area I think the pressure on its GP services outweighs the benefits of the care home beds.”

Many objectors were furious that they had bought their homes believing the estate was going to be given a ‘local centre’ with retail and nursery facilities and were instead being given the care home.

However councillors imposed a condition on the home operators which will ensure its proposed cinema, hairdressing facilities and cafe will be open to the public to use.

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Morrison Community Care Group had already committed to providing communal facilities and gardens at the new state of the art home with a retail unit also being built to provide a local shop.

The proposed home will be off Meikle Drive, in Greenlaw Mains, in Penicuik.

The planning committee heard there were 71 objections to the care home but none raised planning issues which could be used to refuser permission.

Head of planning Peter Arnsdorf said that while objectors had raised concerns about the height of the care home he believed it fitted into the residential area and would be a ‘good fit’.

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Mr Arnsdorf said the original plans for the housing area were now ten years old and developers had struggle to attract a range of retailers to the site.

He said: “If you go back to the original planning permission for the scheme, the council secured as part of it that it would include a local centre.

“It did not define what uses there would be or its height.

“Jump forward and the developer struggled to get a collection of retail developers interested so it looked at the care home model, which includes an openness to the community.”

Councillor Douglas Bowen called for a condition to be added to the planning permission to ensure the care home “allows local residents in to use the facilities”. This was approved unanimously as permission was granted.