A group of residents say an Epsom Hospital grounds housing plan needs to “get back to the drawing board” as they are still not convinced of a redesign.
A reworked proposal for senior residences on land that previously fell within hospital boundaries was unveiled in February 2021, but after looking into it, the Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society said it would not still wouldn’t support her.
The updated plans involve the demolition of buildings on the land and redevelopment of the site to provide a new elderly care community. The Dorking Road development will include 267 care residences, 10 care apartments and 28 care suites offering “transitional care”.
Operator Guild Living said the most recent plans respond to issues and comments raised by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council and the community at large, after the initial plans were denied.
But locals criticized its location and logistics even in its new form, calling for a further overhaul of the program.
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The story of the plans so far
In 2019, the land at Epsom Hospital was sold for £ 18million to Legal & General to create a senior living complex.
Consultations were held in fall 2019 and plans were submitted for 365 apartments to be lived in later in early 2020.
In November 2020 however, Guild Living’s plans were turned down by the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council planning committee, leading to some changes being announced in February 2021.
They reduced the height of the buildings to less than the height of the Wells Hospital building, reduced the number of living units by 42 and said they would plant more than 100 additional trees to improve the landscape.
The neighbor consultation expired on March 18.
An open letter from the Woodcote (Epsom) Residents’ Society states: “It is the very clear view of W (E) RS, as well as an overwhelming number of local residents and other interests, that this program amended fails to overcome the grounds for refusal.
“The massive scale, layout and design of the development are not significantly altered. It remains totally different from its surroundings and would cause considerable negative visual impact and damage to residential equipment. “
The letter goes on to say, “A fundamental overhaul of the scale, density, height and layout of the design is required if the drawing is to be considered acceptable. It must” get back to the drawing board. ” .
A response from Guild Living indicates that it has already responded to local comments and made significant changes to the first set of plans, stating, “The overall height of the building has been reduced to ensure it is lower than the floor plan. nearby hospital, and the building facing Woodcote Green Road has been reduced and further back from the road. “
Guild Living says it continues to work closely with local authorities and residents, responding to their feedback and helping meet future housing needs.
The other main criticism from residents concerns the congestion of the roads. One resident noted, “I see the amount of traffic caused by the busy hospital on a daily basis and the number of hospital staff having to park on residential roads due to the lack of onsite parking. “
Another said that “the number of cars that could possibly be on site when all the work is done will only cause more problems.”
A Guild Living spokesperson said, “Guild Living’s priority is to provide better transportation options for our residents by providing alternatives to owning a car. The focus will be on a carpooling system and a minibus to encourage residents to use more sustainable modes of transportation, while providing parking spaces for residents who choose to continue driving.
“Our approach will remove the hassle of car maintenance for residents, allowing them to enjoy active, independent lives later – while ensuring minimal impact on local road infrastructure.”