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Former hospital and care home in Erith to make way for new homes

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 January 2020

An artist's impression of what the new development could look like. Picture: LDRS

An artist's impression of what the new development could look like. Picture: LDRS

Archant

A historic hospital which was the birthplace of thousands of Bexley residents will be demolished to make way for new homes.

Members of Bexley's planning committee unanimously approved plans which will see the former Hainault Care Home knocked down to make way for 25 new homes.

The application - made by Bexley Council's development arm, BexleyCo - will include eight supported living apartments, alongside a mix of different sized homes.

It means the large Victorian property - which operated as a hospital up until 1974, and as a care home up until 2013 - will be bulldozed.

It's not a plan that has thrilled some nearby residents - with one neighbour telling councillors the action would lead to the loss of one of Erith's last historic buildings.

The owner added the balconies of the development would overlook his garden, while the removal of trees would negatively impact local animals.

"If this all goes ahead, a vast amount of wildlife will be sadly lost," he said.

It wasn't the only concern voiced about the plan, with one councillor expressing disappointment at the level of affordable housing proposed.

As it stands, just 32 per cent of the site, consisting of the supported living flats, will be classified as "affordable".

This falls below the 35pc policy that Bexley Council has implemented on developers.

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Cllr Nicola Taylor (Erith, Labour) said that BexleyCo, as the council's property arm, should "lead the way" with affordable housing.

"It's an absolutely lovely building, it would be an absolute shame to knock it down, but we do need homes and it is a difficult one really," she said.

"We do have an issue with affordable housing (in the borough)… we have a duty in order to lead the way so other developers need to know that 35 per cent (is the appropriate level).

"I'm really expecting BexleyCo to come to us with applications that are compliant with our policy… we need to lead the way."

Cllr John Davey agreed that he was sad to see the building go.

The member for West Heath also revealed that he had been born there.

"It is a historic area but we do need new houses," he said.

"As much as I don't want to see it knocked down, on balance I think it's a good thing."

A council officer said the plan meant a derelict site could be transformed into something that helped the borough reach its housing targets.

She added the council's adult social care department had identified a need for supported, independent living for ageing residents with education needs, instead of residential care.

The application was approved unanimously.


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