Here’s why a new Worthing bungalow next to a former care home has been refused

Plans to turn a former care home into seven apartments and a three-bed house were approved by Worthing Borough Council in July but an application to add in a bungalow was rejected.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:11 pm
The existing property Kingswood

Kingswood Home, 140 Heene Road, will still be converted into seven flats and parking spaces, with its coach house transformed into a three-bed (application AWDM/0601/21).

But the planning committee turned down an extra bungalow on Wednesday evening (November 24).

Kingswood is now empty after the care home’s residents were rehomed due to ‘serious concerns’ over their health and wellbeing and after three were taken to hospital.

The villa is a ‘local interest building’ built in 1906 and sits within the Heene conservation area.

The newly proposed bungalow would have sat to the south, between the villa and a neighbouring property.

Officers said that the addition of an extra bungalow ‘would draw undue attention’ due to its height and footprint, even if it contributes to housing in the area, and they recommended the plans be refused.

But a representative of the applicant, James Breckell Architects, said that the issue ‘can be resolved by design’ and ‘does not require refusal’.

He disagreed with comments from the council’s conservation architect who said an extra home would be harmful to the area.

“It is our view that the harm already exists, and that this application attempts to reverse the effects of incremental harm that have gathered over the years,” Mr Breckell said. 

“The harm is reversed predominantly by giving a grand old Edwardian building a thorough restoration and bringing it back into use.

“Harm is caused by the grand Edwardian building standing empty, but no emphasis is placed on this. 

“Harm is caused by the planning department not meeting their housing targets but no emphasis is placed on this.”

He said the recommendation to refuse was ‘unreasonable’ and wanted to work with council officers to redesign the bungalow.

But planning committee members agreed with the recommendation to refuse.

Jim Deen, (Lab, Central) said: “I walk past it at least once a week, and possibly more, the character of that area is created, not just by the buildings, but the spaces between them.

“I totally accept the recommendation of the officers that we should reject this application.”

Helen Silman (Lab, Heene) was concerned that an extra building would take away amenity space from the flats.

“It is now accepted that outdoor space for people who dwell in flats has become crucial to health and wellbeing particularly – we know this now from the Covid experience,” she said.

“These are human beings who are going to live there and we have an obligation, not just for the conservation, but for the people who are going to live in it.”

Officers now have permission to refuse the amended plans.

More information can be found at the Worthing planning portal using reference: AWDM/1875/21.