January 18, 2024
A care home with a cinema and hair salon for Dementia patients in Fulham has been given the go-ahead.
Hammersmith and Fulham councillors approved the development of the 81-bed care home along Hurlingham Road during a planning meeting last night (Tuesday, 16 January) despite iconcern about the property’s carbon footprint.
Labour’s Wesley Harcourt said it was an “absolute crying shame” the building would only reach a carbon saving of 18 per cent, which he pointed out was well below the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s target of 35 per cent.
Conservative Cllr Alex Karmel said for a new build, that figure was “appalling” and questioned how the application, which had been previously refused by the council then overturned on appeal, would help Hammersmith and Fulham reach its clean borough target.
He said, “Since the appeal decision, we have declared a climate emergency and I actually have difficulty, having declared a climate emergency, that this figure on a new build is coming in so low…We’re trying to be the cleanest borough in the country and this ain’t gonna help.”
The Munster ward councillor also hit out at Care Concern’s offer to let the council buy five bed spaces at a 20 per cent discount.
He said, “When you consider that to our requirements for affordable housing in residential developments, that’s A) appalling, and B) 20 per cent doesn’t even scratch the surface of what we ask for, say, on socially rented properties.”
He also questioned why 46 cycle parking spots were being built when the residents were too frail or ill to utilise them.
A council officer in charge of reviewing the application said builders are under no legal obligation to provide discounted housing when building a care home. They also called the carbon saving figures “misleading” because they did not include the impact of solar panels and heat pumps.
The officer also said because of the complex needs of dementia patients, it was not possible to install energy-saving measures like triple glazed windows or passive ventilation.
He said, “This is a particular type of accommodation for a particular type of end user, so, that’s one of the main reasons it’s not hitting that target. If it was residential use, we’d be seeking all those things you’ve been saying but in this site-specific case, there are some reasons why those can’t be achieved.”
A supporter of the development said it would help meet the borough’s need for care home beds, which they said is expected to reach 268 beds by 2026. They also hope it will free up 20 homes in the borough per year as residents seek care at the Hurlingham Road property.
They said, “National policy described the need for housing for the elderly as critical. In this context, it is important we get your support tonight and address the shortfall.”
Councillors voted 4-3 to let the development go ahead but voted unanimously to let the director of planning and property amend the legal agreement with Care Concern after consulting with lawyers and the chair of the planning committee.
Cllr Harcourt broke ranks to vote in line with opposition councillors to refuse the application.
The site on Hurlingham Road proposed for redevelopment. Picture: Google Streetview
The development will see a vacant industrial plot turned into a five to four-storey building where residents will have their own household-like bedroom and ensuite. The rooms will be grouped in blocks of eight with a shared lounge room, kitchenette and dining room.
Each floor will consist of two bedrooms with each one receiving its own care teams and the site is expected to also house residents with nursing and residential care needs.
Plans also include a cinema, a hair salon, treatment room, 46 cycle parking spots and a communal garden.
In 2017, a proposal to demolish the industrial estate and replace it with a five-storey building, basement and retail space were refused by the council because of concerns over the scheme’s height and impact on local traffic.
A revised design was submitted and given the green light a year later. In 2018, the developer submitted another application, which was refused by the council and taken to the Planning Inspectorate, which ruled in the applicant’s favour.
Adrian Zorzut - Local Democracy Reporter