Affordable homes and 'extra care' flats for former Ribbleton Hospital site

The redevelopment of the former Ribbleton Hospital site in Preston has moved a step closer after councillors approved the detail of plans to build almost 140 new homes on the now flattened plot.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 8:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th March 2021, 9:16 pm

Outline planning permission had already been secured for the land off Miller Road, but the go-ahead has now been given to a development that will be made up entirely of affordable properties – and will also include an apartment block providing so-called ‘extra care’ facilities.

Not-for-profit landlord Community Gateway Association (CGA) will create 75 houses – ranging from two-bedroomed terraces to four-bed detached homes – along with three bungalows. They will be split almost equally between those available for affordable rent and shared ownership.

The three-storey apartment block will comprise 61 self-contained flats, also for affordable rent. It will become the latest extra care scheme in Lancashire, following the model established at other developments, including CGA’s own “The Courtyards” facility in Ingol.

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(Top) Artist's impression of how the planned 'extra care' apartments will look when they are built on (bottom) the site of the former Ribbleton Hospital (top image: Levitt Bernstein, via Preston City Council planning portal)

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The concept promotes independent living with support, offering round-the-clock assistance on-site, along with care packages for those who require them or develop a need for them over time.

It will also include communal facilities in the form of a bistro and hair and beauty salon. While these will be open to the public as is usual within extra developments, a condition has been placed on this site dictating that they are “primarily” reserved for residential use.

Preston City Council principal planning officer Robert Major told a meeting of the authority’s planning committee that there was a “tipping point” at which public access to the facilities would change the type of development proposed from residential to mixed use.

He described the condition as “a compromise”, adding: “If we were to allow this to be just a normal shop or restaurant that anyone can use, that [could have] an impact, potentially, on the town centre.”

Asked after the meeting by the Local Democracy Reporting Service about how the necessary balance would be struck in practice, CGA’s executive director of customers and communities Louise Mattinson said: “Bistros, hair salons and other facilities are common in extra care developments and are provided primarily for the well-being of the residents and their guests; promoting an opportunity for residents to socialise and benefit from access to services and activities without the need to leave their home.

“Having such amenities on site where residents can go and meet others, not only from the scheme itself but from the wider community, is proven to combat loneliness and social isolation in later life and this is an important part of the success of any extra care scheme.

“While other members of the community will be welcome to make use of the facilities, they are primarily provided for the wellbeing of the residents and as such we will work with the residents before such amenities are opened to determine how they want these facilities to operate, which will form the basis for the operation and management agreement that will be submitted to the [council].”

Two access points will be created to the wider development from Miller Road and Sandycroft. The site will also include several areas of open space and a children’s play area.

Ribbleton Hospital closed in 2015 after operating as a mental services facility since the 1980s. The building was demolished in 2017.