Nursing home appeal refused

A healthcare provider has lost its appeal against a council decision which blocked plans to use a property in South Shore as a care home for adults needing mental health services.

Northern Healthcare had challenged the ruling by Blackpool Council which denied it a certificate of lawfulness to operate the residential facility at Abbeyfield House on Boscombe Road.
A planning inspector has supported the council’s stance that while the building had previously been  a care home, in 2015 it had been used as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) without permission.
This meant “the use of the property as a care home had not become lawful through the passage of time.”
Decision documents published by the inspector say: “From the evidence before me, on the balance of probability, I conclude that there has been a material change of use at the property from a residential care home to a house in multiple occupation.
“In light of the above, any lawful use rights conferred by the express planning permissions at the site have been lost as a result of the intervening unlawful use and there is no right of reversion to the last lawful use.”
Northern Healthcare, which said it had invested more than £1.5m in the property, had wanted to provide accommodation for up to 14 adults with needs relating to mental health, autism and learning disabilities.
It said this would help reduce pressure on existing mental health services and argued the property had been a nursing home since 1979.But its application for a certificate of lawfulness enabling it to operate from the premises was turned down by town hall planners in January this year.
They said the property had previously been used as a home for the elderly, and then as an unauthorised house of multiple occupation (HMO) including for student nurses.

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