Epsom General Hospital KT18 7EG

Click here to see map for location of Epsom General Hospital Dorking Road Epsom KT18 7EG .

Current application 21/00252/FUL Demolition of the existing hospital buildings, accommodation block and associated structures and redevelopment of the site to provide a new care community for older people arranged in two buildings, comprising 267 care residences, 10 care apartments and 28 care suites proving transitional care, together with ancillary communal and support services Use Class C2, 24 key worker units Use Class C3, childrens nursery Use Class E, as well as associated back of house and service areas, car and cycle parking, altered vehicular and pedestrian access, landscaping, private amenity space and public open space.

Previous application 19/01722/FUL Demolition of the existing hospital buildings, accommodation block and associated structures and redevelopment of the site to provide a new care community for older people arranged in two buildings, comprising 302 to 308 care residences, 8 to 12 care apartments and 26 to 30 care suites proving transitional care, together with ancillary communal and support services Use Class C2, 24 key worker units Use Class C3, childrens nursery Use Class D1 as well as associated back of house and service areas, car and cycle parking, altered vehicular and pedestrian access, landscaping, private amenity space and public open space.

Following refusal in November 2020 of the original application made in January 2020, the applicant has lodged a new proposal, which slightly reduces the care accommodation proposed, but still presents excessive height, bulk and massing for its setting.

Since the original application, national planning guidelines have become less accommodating for “tall buildings” and the more recent National Model Design Code provides typical parameters for ‘urban neighbourhood’ areas of 12m eaves heights (and densities of 60-120 dwellings/ha) and ‘suburbs’ of 9m eaves heights (and densities of 30-50 d/ha). The applicant has failed to comply with this national design advice as their scheme has a density of 218 d/ha and a height of approx 27m (plus lift motor room/plant) whilst the appearance fails to respect the suburban residential surroundings. The draft revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework published in January 2021 also include policy changes in response to the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission “Living with Beauty” report. This proposes in a new Paragraph 133 that ‘Development that is not well designed should be refused, especially where it fails to reflect local design policies and government guidance on design’.

This application proposes a very large development wedged into a modest site and is at odds with Policies DM 9 – Townscape Character and Local Distinctiveness – by virtue of excessive height, bulk and massing, and DM10 – Design Requirements for new developments – because it fails to respect the privacy of the existing surrounding residences.

The Society also questions the Fire Engineering Stage 2 Report in the light of the ongoing Grenfell Tower enquiry and the Heritage Townscape and Visual Impact Assessment included in the applicant’s supporting application.

Finally, the Society remains concerned that, since existing care residences remain unfilled and other applications for similar accommodation have been withdrawn since January 2020, that, if built, the proposed accommodation would remain unsold and later converted to open market residences, thus depriving the Borough of much needed affordable housing that a development of this size should provide.

For all these reasons, the Society has requested refusal of this application too. See our letter here.

See our previous letter here.