Former Thurleston Cricket Centre could be demolished to make way for 66-bed care home
- Credit: Archant
A former cricket centre on the outskirts of Ipswich could be demolished – to make way for a new 66-room care home, if planners agree on Wednesday.
Major plans to build a new complex on the site of the indoor Thurleston Cricket Centre in Henley Road – which has been derelict for several years – are recommended for approval at a meeting of Ipswich council’s planning and development committee.
Planners are expected to grant permission for the new home on the grounds that a series of conditions are met – including parking requirements, CCTV installation and sustainability provisions.
This is the third application to be made on the site over the last few years – permission already exists to build a nursing home there and for the site to be used for a new children’s home.
This fresh bid has been subject to a number of objections – including from the government’s subsidiary Sport England – which claimed no “appropriate assessment” of the site had been carried out.
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Chiefs suggested it was “not fit for use” as a result.
However, the council’s report states: “Based upon the assessments available and lack of a robust assessment making it clear that the facility is surplus to all such requirements, officers can only conclude that the proposal fails to be in accordance with [council policy].”
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People living nearby also expressed their concerns about the development – citing fears about poor design, increased noise and disturbance, and highway safety as their reasons for objection.
The report concludes: “Concerns regarding the loss of the sports and recreational buildings need be considered and acknowledged as a departure from the development plan.
“However, the proposal does result in significant benefits, such as a contribution towards the demand for residential care and the redevelopment of a redundant and derelict building.
“Officers can conclude that the benefits of the development outweigh these concerns.”
The new application has been made by specialist developers LNT Construction, which has already developed 100 care homes across the country.
LNT’s planning statement says: “The company has developed a series of care homes specifically for the care of older people in a number of locations across Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Midlands, most recently in Huntingdon, Milton Keynes, Northwich and Welwyn Garden City and boasts many well-known national care providers amongst its clients.
“The care home proposed (in Ipswich) is a purpose-built, three-storey, 66-bed residential care facility for older people with associated access, parking and landscaping.”
The site was originally the Thurleston Tennis Centre – and was later converted into a cricket centre when the indoor game became popular in the 1990s.
There have been at least two occasions when there have been fires at the centre – in 2015 a blaze was treated as suspicious, and there are clear signs of vandalism at the derelict building.
LNT has commissioned a survey into wildlife on the site – particularly its potential as a home for bats – which says that while the derelict buildings are not promising for the creatures, proposals to install bat boxes as part of the redevelopment would make it more attractive to them.
Planners will make a decision on the application at the committee meeting on Wednesday, May 30.