‘Complete madness’ – planning bid submitted for 66-room care home in Rushden which will replace 'a key part of our community's heritage'

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Plans to build a new 66-room care home in Rushden’s Northampton Road have been met with a backlash by those who want the historical site to be preserved.

The application by LNT Care Developments would require the demolition of ‘Ferrers Mere’, a property that was built in 1896 and purchased by shoemaker John White in 1926.

The Leeds-based firm believes that it has identified a need for care beds locally, and cites ‘national and local data which projects significant increases in the population of older people, who will need access to a greater choice and availability of care accommodation’.

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In a post on LinkedIn, a spokesman for the firm said: “We are delighted to share that contracts have been exchanged on our site the town of Rushden, Northamptonshire.

If approved, the care home will be 3,178 sqmIf approved, the care home will be 3,178 sqm
If approved, the care home will be 3,178 sqm

“We are pushing forward with our mission to improve the quality of elderly care across the UK as we plan to develop a luxury, 66-bed care home that is precision-built to provide the perfect environment to support the delivery of residential and dementia care.”

But the public’s response to the proposal has been critical of the move, calling it ‘heartbreaking’, and believing that it would have a detrimental impact on the traffic in the area, as well as the loss of one of the town’s heritage sites and links to its rich shoemaking history.

One comment on the application said: “This house holds a lot of Rushden's history, with its connections to three famous shoe industry families. The house should be preserved.

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“Also, it is too close to a busy junction [in] Hayway. Northampton Road is a very busy route in and out of Higham and having access to a large care home just there would add to the already busy rush hour tailbacks, causing potential accidents.

John White shoe factory owner and his wife celebrating his 80th birthday in December 1964John White shoe factory owner and his wife celebrating his 80th birthday in December 1964
John White shoe factory owner and his wife celebrating his 80th birthday in December 1964

“There is also the new development just opposite, Sanders Field, with its additional traffic, so we definitely need to make sure no further traffic is added to the already busy road area.

"Building a large care home just there would be complete madness.”

The house currently on the proposed site is unoccupied, but was the former home of John White, the original founder of the company of the same name, which has been a cornerstone of Rushden’s shoemaking industry since it was established in 1919. He retired from shoemaking in 1962 to devote his time to the farm, which is now slated for demolition.

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Another comment in objection to the plan added: “How can the local planners' decision to demolish a property built in 1896, a key part of our community's heritage, ever be deemed acceptable?

The proposed site plan of the new care home in Northampton Road, RushdenThe proposed site plan of the new care home in Northampton Road, Rushden
The proposed site plan of the new care home in Northampton Road, Rushden

"This is absolutely heartbreaking, and the addition of a 66-bed care home will severely strain local infrastructure.

"Northampton Road is already overburdened with traffic and cannot accommodate more.”

The applicant has developed more than 200 care homes specifically for the care of older people across England since 2005, and in an effort to ‘shape the future of residential care’, LNT Care Development also lists another care home, this time in Niort Way, Wellingborough, as ‘under construction’.

View the full application here.

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