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Bushey residents celebrate refusal for care home on Reveley Lodge Estate
Residents opposing controversial plans to build a 75-bedroom care home close to their properties are celebrating - after developer Signature Senior Lifestyle’s appeal was refused.
The appeal represented an attempt by Signature to obtain permission from Hertsmere Borough Council for the residential home to be built on the historic Reveley Lodge Estate in Elstree Road.
Developers were refused planning permission for a second time in February this year, following a unanimous decision by eleven borough councillors.
The appeal against this decision was dismissed because of the effect the build would have on the character and appearance of the area, and on the living conditions of the neighbours in terms of noise and disturbance, privacy and outlook.
Linda Rauch, chairwoman of Bushey Heath Residents’ Association which spearheaded a campaign against the development, said she felt justice had been done and that residents’ opinions were being taken into consideration.
She said: "We’re all obviously very pleased that this appeal has been overturned, we simply do not want this care home here.
"The plans were unanimously rejected because it would have been an overdevelopment of the area, inadequate drainage and parking, and because the build was out of character. And we’re glad this has been upheld in the appeal.
"We have fought long and hard for this result, there is plenty of care home provision in Bushey and no need for any more.
"NHS-run Windmill House was closed down, so why build another care home if it was fine to close the other?
"There has been a lot of community support for our campaign, residents do not want another care home on their doorsteps. The fact that this appeal has been denied shows we will not be walked over."
Campaign members have criticised the Bushey Museum Property Trust, which owns the land, for agreeing to sell the site which is widely regarded as the last piece of the original Bushey heath.
But the trust argued that it needed to make the sale, thought to be in the region of £4million and dependent on planning permission being obtained, to raise money for the upkeep of the Victorian Reveley Lodge estate.
Mrs Rauch said: "As far as I’m concerned, the whole community was sold out when Bushey Museum agreed to sell the land.
"Thankfully justice has prevailed. Developers have not been allowed to run roughshod over residents, our opinions have been taken into account by the council.
"We are hoping that this is an opportunity for Bushey Museum Property Trust to withdraw the option to Signature and pursue a better more community focused use of the Paddock in line with the original intentions of this bequest."
David Roe, from Signature Senior Lifestyle, expressed disappointment that the appeal had been refused.
He said: "It’s a future loss for Bushey and its residents.
"There is still going to be an increase in demand as there are not many sites about for this sort of accommodation.
"It takes a developer a good year to find a suitable site, then a considerable amount of time is spent submitting plans and a further couple of years actually building. By this time I can imagine there will only be more demand, and further developers seeking to build.
"At this point we will have to review our options."