Former seaside nursing home to be converted into flats

The former Leopold Nursing Home is set to be turned into apartments

The former Leopold Nursing Home is set to be turned into apartments - Credit: RICHARD CORNWELL

A former seaside nursing home which closed due to a decline in demand in the sector is set to be turned into apartments.

The 36-bedroom Leopold Road Nursing Home in Leopold Road, Felixstowe, has been closed for five years.

At the time, the home had few residents - some were relocated to St Mary’s Nursing Home, also owned by the same company, on the seafront, but that subsequently closed in 2018 and has recently been granted planning permission for conversion into apartments.

East Suffolk Council has now given the go-ahead for the Leopold to be converted into nine flats.

The building dates back to the 1920s but has been significantly extended/remodelled over the years and is now much larger than when first built.

In documents submitted to the council, Peter Wells Architects, on behalf of the owners, explained why the nursing home had become unviable.

They said: "The Leopold Road Nursing Home was created as a care home specifically targeted to those who relied on social funding i.e did not have the private means to pay for nursing care.

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"Over time, however, through less government funding towards social care and change in policy from offering full-time care home facilities to offering a maximum of two hours of care at the patient’s home, the occupancy levels plummeted.

"An audit by the Association of Directors of Social Services found that care home closures have risen by 40% in a year amid a growing crisis in social care.

"The audit found that 58 councils saw residential and nursing homes go out of business within a six-month period, and council chiefs said that the sector was becoming 'increasingly fragile' with cuts to social care in recent years fuelling pressures on the NHS.”

It was not anticipated therefore that selling the building as a going concern would be possible.

The project will see nine new flats created - three two-bedroom apartments on the ground floor, three two-bedroom apartments on the first floor,  two three-bedroom apartments on the second floor, and one one-bedroom apartment on the third floor.

The existing car park will be retained and there are no planned extensions to the property.

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