First of its kind dementia care village in Haverhill is approved

An artist impression image of what the new dementia care village in Haverhill could look like.

An artist impression image of what the new dementia care village in Haverhill could look like. - Credit: CARE LITTLE COURT LTD

A "game changing" dementia care village that will care for up to 120 people near Havehill aims has secured planning permission.

The development for the Care (Little Court Ltd) site is the first of its kind and will be built on land off the A143 in Little Wratting and aims to be open by mid 2023.

Permission was secured at West Suffolk Council's development control committee on Wednesday.

Based on the Dutch model called Hogeweyk, the specialist secure village will contain mostly one and two storey buildings, including clinic rooms, a pub, community hall and restaurant so that those with dementia can move freely but safely.

While close to the new homes being created for Great Wilsey Park, the land is considered in the countryside and outside of the settlement boundary - meaning development is contrary to the council’s own planning policies.

The meeting found that while in proximity to other homes and the specific provision for people with dementia and the need for that to be in a quieter area,  it was an acceptable departure from the authority’s policy by planning officers.

Stuart Harris, one of the CARE (Little Court) Ltd directors, said: “It's [Hogeweyk care model] been operating since the 1990s to create a dementia care model which allows small group living, which is very important, rather than the general care provision.

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“It’s small group living, meaningful occupation – so actually doing things, getting up in the morning and going out to do things, and also freedom to roam in a safe and secure environment.

“It’s about continuing meaningful occupation in a safe and secure environment with a family type of setting.

“This is genuinely a game changer. We think we will be creating on the outskirts of Haverhill not only the first in this well-established working model, but we are going to be looking to roll out more of these care villages in the hope that other care providers will come and join us in the way.”

Concerns were raised about if the location of the site was the right one due to the nearby A143 and new developments in the new north Haverhill developments.

There were discussions about the potential impact on GP and other health services.

Councillor Susan Glossop said the development was ‘laudable’ but questioned how secure the site would be to stop people wandering to the nearby A143.

Cllr John Burns said that while he was supportive of specialist dementia care, the £33,526 contribution to healthcare infrastructure in the planning conditions was ‘a pittance’.

However, Cllr Ian Houlder said it was a good facility in the right place, isolated enough that they could be looked after.

Cllr Carol Bull added: “I appreciate it’s in the countryside but I think isn’t been demonstrated there is a need”.

Plans also included a 73-space car park, staff minibus link into Haverhill and is set to create around 165 jobs.

The proposals were approved by 12 votes to three at West Suffolk's meeting on Wednesday.

Developers hope to start work on site within six months for opening in mid-2023.

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