Charity Faces ‘Tragic’ End To Dreams For New Care Home

A charity’s plans for a multi-million pound development are “excessive and unacceptable” according to a council report. Hall Grange residential home, in Shirley Church Road, was bought by the Methodist Society in 1923 and has been a care home for the elderly ever since. Proposals had been drawn up to knock down the 36-bed home and replace it with a larger,updated, version with better facilities. The new development would house 62 people plus 37 self-contained flats for elderly people on the seven-acre site.

But in a report presented to Croydon Council’s planning committee, council officers said the £9 million project would cause too much damage to the environment, destroy protected trees and look out of character with the area.

But Nicholas Borrett, project manager for Methodist Homes for the Aged (MHA), which runs Hall Grange, said the report was extreme-ly frustrating and planners needed to consider the wider picture.

He said: “We are disappointed because we have spent thousands on this and made every effort with our re-design. We really thought we’d got there. Without this new building, Hall Grange faces an uncertain future at a time when there is already a shortage of homes and beds for elderly people.”

The chief executive of MHA, Roger Davies, added: “The increase in demand for specialist care for older people is recognised by all authorities in the area.

“It would be a tragedy if this opportunity to make a fundamental difference to the availability of care was lost.”

The charity applied for full planning permission last July, but withdrew its application that would have seen a 62-bed home and 49 flats on the site.

It was re-submitted with adjustments this year.

Part of the existing building was the original retirement home of the Reverend William Wilks and was once considered for listed status.

It was the site of his wild flower garden in the 1920s and is considered to be of historical and ecological interest, containing a Sphagnum (or peat moss) bog – one of only five left in London.