Childs Hill community fear ‘lives will be ruined’ by new care home development

Residents gather in opposition to proposals to demolish the care home in Church Walk to make way for

Residents gather in opposition to proposals to demolish the care home in Church Walk to make way for a new four-storey development. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

A bid to build a new care home in the heart of a Childs Hill neighbourhood has been slammed by residents who fear it will ruin the community and destroy their quality of life.

A 100-strong group of residents living in Prospect Road and Lyndale Avenue have set up the Save Church Walk campaign in opposition to plans to demolish an elderly care home between the two roads, in Church Walk, and replace it with a home more than twice the current size.

Central & Cecil Housing Trust (CCHT) wants to demolish Church Walk House and replace it with a four-storey home offering 53 one and two bedroom apartments, as well as a restaurant, hair salon, treatment rooms and landscaped gardens.

Harriet Green, whose garden in Prospect Road faces the care home, said: “It’s pretty horrific what is being planned. The new building would be twice as high, cover three times as much space and they are going to build an underground car park.

“At the moment we have this wonderful view of the sky from our gardens but after the development we will have lots of balconies staring back at us. It would destroy our lives, we will lose all our light.”

The application for the new care home is set to be considered by Barnet Council’s planning committee on September 11.

Ahead of the meeting, the Save Church Walk group released a YouTube video featuring interviews with concerned residents, as well as submitting a petition to the council urging it to reject the planning application.

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Mother-of-one Ms Green said the neighbourhood had a “very rural” feel which would be destroyed by the new building.

“It’s the reason why we all live here and the children play out the back in Church Walk, it’s a very quiet lane,” she said.

“The effect it’s going to have on our kids is dramatic, the way they play at the moment is going to be ruined.”

Louise Lerman, of Lyndale Avenue, whose garden backs on to the care home’s garden, said the plan to demolish the care home, which includes a Victorian church, was “tragic”.

Raising concerns about the risk of flooding posed by the development plans, she said: “All the soil is clay so we get a lot of flooding. We are very concerned with the size of the building and the effect it will have on the land.”

A CCHT spokeswoman said: “We have been working very closely with the local authority and local residents to replace a very run-down building that was no longer fit for purpose as a care home, to provide a tailor-designed extra care housing scheme at this site.

“We will continue to work with local people to minimise any disruption through the development of our proposed scheme.”