REFUSAL Of Bowling Club Care Home Plan Is Upheld

14 April, 2023 | News

AN attempt to overturn refusal of planning permission for a care home in Jordanhill has failed.

Northcare (Scotland) Ltd wanted to build a 60-bed facility at Anniesland Bowling and Tennis Club, Helensburgh Drive, which is bound on all sides by residential development. A community garden was included in the proposals.

The bowling club members voted to close down because it is no longer sustainable. The tennis courts have not been used for more than 20 years.

Councillors on Glasgow’s planning applications committee rejected a revised proposal from Northcare for the site last year; city planners had refused permission for an initial application earlier in the year.

A report by officials stated: “The proposed erection of a residential care home would result in the loss of protected open space, contrary to the Sustainable Spatial Strategy, and would have a single access which would be a hazard to pedestrian, cycle and vehicle traffic accessing the site.

“While the proposed development could potentially help address a need in the local area, for care within the local community, this does not outweigh the strong presumption in favour of the retention of protected open space.”

Northcare raised the case with the Scottish Government’s planning and environmental appeals division arguing that it should be approved.

But the Government’s Allison Coard reporter has agreed with the council. Her report states: “The land has remaining amenity value as an open space in the built-up area irrespective of an existing outdoor sports use.

“I find the proposal does not appropriately compensate for the overall loss of protected open space in an area of identified deficiency in such provision.

“I am not persuaded that the proposed replacement of the existing open space with a care home and small community garden would better serve the needs of the local community in an area where there is a deficiency of such open space.”

The report continues: “Given the extent of the building mass, its height and the comparative ground level, I consider the building fails to reflect the residential scale and character of the area.

“The building lacks a street frontage or spacious setting. I consider it would appear as a bulky and incongruously large building in comparison to the surrounding residential scale properties that are currently grouped around this established open space.

“The scale and nature of the proposed redevelopment of this open space compounds my concern regarding the loss of that space and the consequent impact on the amenity of the area and the access that local residents would have to locally accessible open space.”

A document included with the proposal stated: “This application is being brought forward with changes to the previous scheme and in response and to resolve each of the given reasons for refusal.

“All of the garden areas, including the community garden will be managed and maintained by Northcare. This will make them more attractive to encourage the community to interact with them.

“This will be in contrast to the existing grounds, that have fallen into a state of disrepair following the closure of the bowling green. The old tennis courts in particular have not been maintained for a number of years, and this has resulted in a loss of visual amenity for neighbours overlooking the site.

“An agreement has also been reached with the neighbour at 103 Helensburgh Drive to purchase a narrow strip of land to provide wider site access capable of accommodating a bi-directional access drive with adjacent 1.8m wide footway. This will enhance the access to the care home and the community garden.”

Amenities at the care home were to include rooftop terraces, a cocktail lounge, spa and cinema, cafe with outside terrace, and private and public garden areas.

The bowling club ceased to operate because of “dwindling patronage, coupled with overprovision in the local area”. The application stated that dialogue with Sport Scotland had confirmed that there was no longer a demand for a bowling green in this location and this formal response has been confirmed to the council.

To compensate for loss of the bowling green, Northcare had agreed to pay a contribution that would allow investment in an alternative asset in a more sustainable location.

The applicant added: “Of more immediate benefit to the local community, and to offset the loss of the recreational space afforded by the bowling and tennis club, the proposals include a community garden and also a rooftop terrace, accessible from the third floor cafe to provide new meaningful and accessible open space for use by the public.”

The statement continued: “The proposed development will provide much-needed accommodation for the ever-increasing elderly population, allowing them to live their lives with dignity and independence with specialist assistance at hand.

“It is our intention to create a care home that is a contemporary take on the traditional sandstone tenement.

“The L-shaped building will be viewed, in the main, as three storeys in height. A smaller fourth storey penthouse floor will be developed in some areas to accommodate support facilities.

“The proposal is respectful of its neighbours, with appropriate offset distances to protect existing privacy and outlook.”

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