Chipping Norton’s former Penhurst School looks set to become a care home after provisional plans were approved by West Oxfordshire District Council last Monday.
The plans for a 58-bed care home and assisted living accommodation at the site of the Action for Children-owned school were approved on Monday by WODC’s Uplands Area planning committee despite questions over the three-storey height of the central part of the design.
Chipping Norton Town Council had lodged objections to the ‘large mass’ of the proposed care home proposed by Beechcroft Developments, in particular the three-storey section, and called for the design to be altered to fit more closely with the style of neighbouring properties.
Committee member Councillor Geoff Saul, who represents Chipping Norton, said he and fellow councillor Elizabeth Poskitt spoke at the meeting against the plans on the grounds of the three-storey height of the central building which residents felt would overlook houses on Distons Lane but said the rest of the committee was in favour of the plans which fit WODC’s need to meet care targets.
Mr Saul said: “We thought the care home was wrong for a site which was on a prominent approach to Chipping Norton and in a conservation area.
“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t have argued further to the developers to reduce the height of the building.
“If you asked the people of Chipping Norton what facilities the town needs they probably would say not another care home.
“Most of us would have liked to have seen it used for youngsters again.”
But Cllr Saul admitted it would not be a bad development for the town.