A plan to replace a house with a care home near Crowthorne has been rejected.

Barchester Healthcare, a care provider, had applied to replace Oak Dale, a family home, with a 60-bed care home contained within one large new building.

But Barchester’s hopes to build the care home have been dashed as the proposal has been refused at a planning meeting.

Oak Dale is located in Lower Wokingham Road near Crowthorne, falling in the Finchampstead North ward of Wokingham Borough.

Wokingham Borough Council’s planning department recommended it be approved, judging that the proposed care home would be appropriately sized for the plot, and provide specialist care in an accessible location.

READ MORE: Barchester submit plan to build new 60-bed care home near Crowthorne

However, dozens of neighbours objected to the plan arguing the care home would be substantially larger than Oak Dale, would involve 20 trees being cut down, and be in an inappropriate location.

Neil Davis, a planning consultant on behalf of the objectors, said: “From a locational perspective, this is clearly the wrong use in the wrong place.”

He went on to criticise the planned shift patterns the care home would have operated by, with first running from 8am to 5pm, the second running from 1pm to 8pm and the overnight shift running from 8pm to 8am.

Bracknell News: Oak Dale in Lower Wokingham Road, near Crowthorne. Credit: Harris Irwin ArchitectsOak Dale in Lower Wokingham Road, near Crowthorne. Credit: Harris Irwin Architects

Mr Davis said: “Given the frequent changes in shift patterns, the relationship to public transport is poor, leading to overspill on neighbouring roads, particularly as the level of parking is below council standards.”

The plan proposed 29 parking spaces, containing three disabled bays and a space reserved for  ambulance parking.

It was also noted that Oak Dale is located in the countryside, with objectors highlighting that the countryside should only be built on in special circumstances.

READ MORE: Neighbours at odds over new Crowthorne care home plans

Councillor Wayne Smith (Conservative, Hurst) introduced a motion to refuse the plan, which proved successful.

In a split vote, six councillors voted to refuse it, with councillors Tony Skuse (Labour, Bulmershe & Whitegates) and Andrew Mickleburgh (Liberal Democrats, Hawkedon) voting for its approval.

The official reason for refusal given was that the care home would represent an ‘excessive encroachment on the countryside’, and that Barchester had not devised an employment skills plan which would provide opportunities for people seeking to work in care in the borough.

The meeting took place on Wednesday, July 12, as councillors deliberated over a decision for two hours and 20 minutes. The room it was held in was packed with objectors.