Concerns over the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses have been raised over plans for a new care home in Bracknell.

A plan was submitted to build a 68 bed care home and 50 homes at a site known as ‘The Island’ off Cain Road in Binfield, which has been sealed off by hoardings since the summer last year.

The scheme was discussed  by Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee on Thursday, October 14.

While members mostly praised the plan, Councillor Dale Birch (ConservativeLittle Sandhurst and Wellington) implied the design of the care home could have been improved to limit the risk of coronavirus and other illnesses spreading.

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The care home, which will be three storeys tall, comes with two dining areas, assisted bathrooms and drug dispensaries on each floor.

Floor plans for the care home (seen in the gallery above) shows rows of bedrooms next door to each other, all of which are ensuite. 20 will be on the ground floor, 23 on the first floor and 24 bedrooms will be on the second floor.

The ground floor also comes with a café and a hair and beauty salon.

Bracknell News: Ground floor plans for the care home in 'The Island' development in Binfield. Credit: Harris IrwinGround floor plans for the care home in 'The Island' development in Binfield. Credit: Harris Irwin

Voicing his concerns, Cllr Birch said: “The layout of the care home is not very innovative, particularly given what we’ve learned over the last couple of years from COVID, and the need for a more segmented way of keeping people safe within a communal building.

"I’m somewhat disappointed that the applicant has gone for the same old way of doing things, I would’ve liked to have seen a little more innovation in terms of the future.”

Cllr Dudley (Conservative, Crown Wood), the chairman of the committee, who supported the scheme, acknowledged Cllr Birch’ point, saying: “Cllr Birch is very knowledgeable about this, it is a fact that care homes need to be a little bit smarter in their design, however it’s not part of our planning policy to be able to refuse on these grounds.”

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The committee was highly supportive of the housing element of the scheme, which involves building a total of 50 homes – 33 of which will be three-bedroom, 12 two-bedroom and five will be one-bedroom, which will be split between two apartment blocks and a mix of  detached, semi detached and terraced houses.

The developers were particularly praised for making 30 per cent of the new houses affordable. Of the new homes, 10 will be reserved for affordable rent, and five will be affordable via shared ownership.

Cllr Dudley said: “I’m extremely pleased to see that the applicant is putting forward a 30 per cent affordable home scheme which is excellent for this area and the access feeds directly onto the existing roundabout, which should overcome any access problems for the housing.”

Bracknell News: The design of the proposed care home in Binfield. Credit: Omega ArchitectsThe design of the proposed care home in Binfield. Credit: Omega Architects

Voicing her support, Cllr Tricia Brown (Labour, Priestwood and Garth) said: “It’s absolutely excellent that we have so much affordable housing in this scheme and so many three-bedroom houses, I think that’s so much needed in Bracknell.”

You can view tweets from the meeting here: 

Parking provision in the scheme was also praised. For the housing, 105 parking spaces in total will be provided, and the care home will make use of 26 spaces, with two of these reserved for disabled blue badge holders.

Ultimately, plans for the 68 bed care home and 50 homes were approved by the committee by 14 votes to one.

Cllr Peter Heydon had his vote counted as an abstention  as he failed to reply to the vote rollcall.