Parking worries over new 60-bed care home raised by objectors

Under existing regulations the home would only have to provide one parking space for every five staff members. 

Parking worries over new 60-bed care home in Linlithgow raised by objectors SNS Group

A new care home planned for Linlithgow would be crammed onto a site, without enough parking spaces for staff or visitors, councillors heard this week. 

In a debate on whether a new 60 bed care home should be built in Falkirk Road it emerged that – under existing regulations – the home would only have to provide one parking space for every five staff members. 

There are only 16 spaces provided for the home. Daytime staff cover at the home would between 20 and 25.

Councillors on the Development Management Committee highlighted the parking problems around St John’s Hospital in Livingston where surrounding residential streets have long been choked with overspill parking.

Neighbours of the proposed new care home who live in Broomyhill Place, Linlithgow,  described losing garden ground, trees and shrubbery to tarmac and branded the plan “environmental vandalism.”

The DMC agreed to stall a decision on the application by Colin Rhodes to build a new care home on the site of the GM Flooring showroom for two months to get clearer answers on parking plans.

Planners had recommended granting permission with a set of conditions. There were 28 objections to the plan including objections from Linlithgow & Linlithgow Bridge Community Council and Linlithgow Civic Trust. 

Suggestions that overspill parking could be accommodated in the neighbouring supermarket and shopping centre car parks were also treated with doubts.

Mr Rhodes admitted he was “relaxed” about  car parking issues, a phrase he later apologised for. 

He pointed out that his surveys of a larger care home in Linlithgow rarely showed any more than 17 to 20 cars parked at that care home, which has 80 beds. Any survey of Google maps would show similar numbers of parked cars at the care home, he suggested.

He said reconfiguring the design of his plans would be difficult without losing amenity space. 

Councillor Pauline Clark highlighted the ongoing parking issues on residential streets around St John’s in Livingston.

“It’s not acceptable to residents. I just worry we could be setting ourselves up for a similar situation.”

The planners’ report said that parking standards were based on whether the site was based within a town centre or elsewhere. 

It explained: “Within a town centre there should be one space per six residents/couples plus one per 10 staff. Elsewhere that ratio changes to one space per three residents/couples and one space per five staff. 

“For a 60 bed care home with a maximum of 20 staff on site at any one time that will equate to a requirement of 12 spaces within a town centre and 25 elsewhere. The site meets the requirements for a town centre location.”

One objector who lives in Broomyhill Place, Jean McLeod, told the committee that the council’s report contradicted itself. She said: “The site does not lie within a town centre location.  Broomyhill Place would become an extension of the care home car park, and no amount of signage would prevent that happening.”

Mrs McLeod added: “We cannot assume that there are rights for care home parking in supermarket or rail car parks. The proposed new parking spaces would require removal of  gardens. This means the destruction of a beautiful mature beech hedge and the cutting down of two, likely more, sycamore trees, all maintained  by the residents of Broomyhill Place. These cannot be replaced and  in the current global  environmental emergency destroying trees and bushes is environmental vandalism.”

Another local resident Duncan Gallie  said: “The basic problem is the building is too big for the site. Problems with parking and the exit through Broomyhill Place are significant.”

This was echoed by another objector who described the building as “being crammed” into the Falkirk Road site.

Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said he was minded to continue to pursue questions on parking provision and protection of the surrounding amenity.

Councillor Willie Boyle said he had similar concerns; he said he had no issues with the principal of the care home but he added: “The idea of  five staff members sharing one parking space appals me, quite frankly.”

He pointed to shift changeover times  alongside the parking needed for  health visitors, GPs family members visiting. “I don’t think 16 spaces are quite adequate. I would comfortably like to see at least  another six.”

The decision has been delayed until October.

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