Plans for ‘imposing’ assisted living block in Rickmansworth rejected – Watford Observer

A council has rejected plans to build an assisted living facility in Rickmansworth after neighbours objected to the plans.

NL Care Property applied to build the 48-unit in Beesons Yard, Bury Lane saying it was a “sensitive and high quality” redevelopment to bring the former industrial yard into more efficient use.

The scheme would provide independent living for elderly people, along with day-to-day care and on-site communal facilities for residents.

However, neighbours feared it would be an overdevelopment of the plot and raised concerns about the impact on existing properties.

At a planning committee meeting on Thursday January 20, councillors from Three Rivers District Council rejected the proposal saying it would have too significant an impact on the street scene.

Rickmansworth Town Conservative councillor Lisa Hudson said she was speaking on behalf of several residents who raised concerns about the building’s “imposing” size, a lack of parking and the impact on the amount of sunlight for four nearby flats.

Batchwood Community Council said it was an overdevelopment of the site and argued the inclusion of 20 spaces was insufficient for the development, despite the applicant saying the site’s sustainable location meant it was policy compliant.

Watford Observer: A CGI of the entrance to the new development proposed at Beeson's Yard in Bury Lane, Rickmansworth. Credit: NL Property CareA CGI of the entrance to the new development proposed at Beeson’s Yard in Bury Lane, Rickmansworth. Credit: NL Property Care

The applicant said they had responded to feedback from consultations and pre-application advice from the council to minimise the impact on neighbouring residents.

The changes included reducing the height of the building facing flats in nearby Chesswood Court, and removing balconies from the building in response to privacy concerns.

Douglas Bond, of the applicant’s agents Woolf Bond Planning, told the committee: “This application is the culmination of several years of work to deliver the right development for this site. Following several consultations, we have changed the scheme to secure a sensitive and high quality redevelopment proposal that will breathe new life into the Beeson’s Yard site.”

He added: “This is an opportunity to secure high quality regeneration, it’s good for the local economy and provides extra care facilities for older people. The development has been designed to respect the character of the area, respect the privacy and amenities of neighbouring properties, whilst delivering significant benefits to district residents.”

Watford Observer: Entrance to Beeson's Yard currently. Credit: Google MapsEntrance to Beeson’s Yard currently. Credit: Google Maps

Officers were also satisfied with the plans, and told councillors it was a case of striking a balance between the need to provide care facilities, contributing towards housing need in the district and the objections raised by neighbours.

Each unit would be a completely separate flat with either one or two bedrooms, which officers also noted would lead to homes being freed-up in the borough when residents move into the scheme. 

However, councillors remained unconvinced about the proposals with Moor Park & Eastbury Tory member Cllr Debbie Morris proposing refusal on the grounds of the impact on the street scene and adverse impacts on the neighbour’s amenity.

Councillors voted 5-0 to refuse the scheme, with five councillors abstaining from the vote.