A FORMER day centre in New Milton is set to be demolished under council plans for a 50-bed care home.
The site of the Fernmount Centre and Fernmount House, in Forest Pines, would be redeveloped as part of a scheme which – if approved – landowner Hampshire County Council hopes will be delivered as early as 2021.
The plot has been empty since 2016 when the day care and respite facilities were shut by HCC and some services shifted to what is now New Forest Community Link in nearby Gore Road.
As reported in the A&T, there had been plans by London-based housing association Family Mosaic for 80 sheltered homes, having secured £3m of government funding.
But that has fallen through and now HCC is drawing up fresh proposals for the site in partnership with regeneration company Places for People.
It is part of a wider £45m drive to double the number of extra care housing apartments in the county for older people from 750 to 1,500. The homes would be restricted to the over-55s with residents including those with early on-set dementia.
The draft proposals, which have not yet been formally lodged as an application to New Forest District Council, were shown by the project planner and architect to New Milton Town Council’s planning committee.
They said the L-shaped scheme had been scaled back from an original 62 units to reduce the bulk of the structure after criticism from NFDC, according to minutes of the meeting. It would be screened with trees and complement the local architecture, they said.
Concerns from councillors and residents included how residents would cross nearby Fernhill Lane, one of the main routes into New Milton. Questions were also raised about whether 21 parking spaces would be enough, although it was said car use by residents would be low.
HCC cabinet member for adult social care and health, Cllr Liz Fairhurst, told the A&T: “As our older population grows, so the numbers needing care increase.
“In response, the county council is working with partners to develop modern, purpose-built extra care housing for people with care and support needs across Hampshire.
“The proposal for New Milton comprises a fantastic development on the site of our former day centre which, subject to planning, will provide around 50 one and two bedroom apartments.
“These are designed to help older people with care needs to live as independently as possible, supported by a 24/7 care team.”
She added: “The scheme will also benefit from a range of facilities, including a restaurant and communal spaces.
“Should the scheme be approved, we look forward to opening the new accommodation to residents in 2021/22.”