Care business wins permission to extend Brighton property

A care company, Glenholme Group, has been granted planning permission for a single-storey rear and side extension to 67 Saltdean Drive, including converting the garage into a “habitable space”.

Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh asked Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee to wait and consider the proposals at the same time as another application for the same property.

The second application seeks permission to change the bungalow into a shared house – or house in multiple occupation (HMO).

When the Planning Committee met on Wednesday (10 August), Councillor Fishleigh said that Glenholme was not a residential developer.

Instead, she said, it wanted to expand its healthcare business and was already running a care home at 69 Saltdean Drive next door – and had three other care homes in Saltdean.

Councillor Fishleigh, who represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, which includes the western half of Saltdean, said: “It’s the businesses strategy to take a piecemeal approach to planning and obtain incremental approvals that result in what they finally want.

“The drawings you are considering today have been amended and most of the features required to operate as a for-profit business, such as the staff toilet, have been removed.

“However, these are retained on the second application. If you approve this application, then the additional space created in the garage and at the back will be a done deal and won’t be considered as part of the second application.”

She cited congested roads, limited parking and business use in a residential area as reasons to reject the plans – and, she said, the “chill room” on the floor plan was a sign that the scheme was not for a householder.

Glenholme’s operations manager Urzula Peazold said that staff at 69 Saltdean Drive were not responsible for parking problems in the area as all but one of them used public transport.

She said that there was a high demand for “care in the community” placements for young people in Brighton and Hove but there was a lack of space available.

When asked about the chill room, she said that it was a second living area.

Labour councillor Daniel Yates said that the extension would provide excellent accommodation for disabled residents and he had no issues with the design.

He said: “Disabled people need places to live as well. If the concern of different communities is to find ways to stop disabled people living within their communities, I would worry for the future of those communities long term.

“I am more than happy to see the changes made to this property to provide appropriate access, laundry facilities, space to live and bathing facilities for people who might need it.”

67 Saltdean Drive

Independent councillor Tony Janio said that councillors were deciding on the building only and accused Councillor Yates of getting on his “high horse”.

He said: “We all know or have ideas what this might be used for. It might have a bit of a whiff and, as councillors, we don’t like the idea that things are incrementally done without us having the final say but that is the way life is.”

Green councillor Leo Littman, who chairs the Planning Committee, said: “Who ends up living there is not our concern. Matters to change of use are not relevant to our consideration.

“All we are doing is looking at whether this is an appropriate development – and I think it is an appropriate development.”

Conservative councillor Carol Theobald said that supported housing should be in the city centre, adding: “This is way out – and I think this street is probably the wrong street to have this here.

“This has got steps up to the property which would not be very helpful if disabled people live there.”

Councillors voted nine for and one against the application.

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