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Ten flats approved to transform former care home Roann House in Bouverie Road West, Folkestone

Plans to turn a now-derelict, former care home into 10 flats have been approved, despite fears of overdevelopment.

Objectors say the bid for Roann House in Folkestone includes too many homes and it would aggravate parking problems.

Artist's impression of how the new flats will look at former care home Roann House in Folkestone. Picture: CDP Architecture/planning portal
Artist's impression of how the new flats will look at former care home Roann House in Folkestone. Picture: CDP Architecture/planning portal

But planning officers at Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) signed off the proposal, which will see four two-bed and six one-bed homes created in the vacant building in Bouverie Road West.

Developers say it is in “serious need of renovation”.

But prior to approval being granted, one local resident wrote on the council’s planning portal: “Ten flats are far too many and will cause problems with parking around here.

“It's not fair or practicable for people to have to park in another street. These streets are already full up most nights.

“With the new flats we will lose three spaces anyway, as people park along the front, so adding more cars will make matters worse.”

She believed only five flats should be created, each with their own parking space.

Roann House in Folkestone, as it looks now. Picture: Google
Roann House in Folkestone, as it looks now. Picture: Google

The civic group the New Folkestone Society believed there should be no more than six flats.

Vice-chairman Mark Hourahane said in a letter to the council: “We are delighted to finally see a proposal for this building after such a long time of it being empty. However, we are disappointed at the over-intensive plans.

“The building would be better suited to six flats maximum.”

Mr Hourahane said his group also shared neighbours’ concerns about parking problems.

Planning officers at FHDC approved the application from Sandgate-based Roma Homes under delegated powers.

Their report said: “The proposed development would not be harmful to the amenity of existing residents and future occupiers.

“The proposed parking provision would be acceptable and not harmful to highway safety.”

They argued that Roann House, as a 20-bed care home, would have had a lot of vehicle movements associated with residents, staff and visitors.

Mark Hourahane, of New Folkestone Society
Mark Hourahane, of New Folkestone Society

They said the application offered five on-site parking spaces and the flats would be close to bus stops and Folkestone Central railway station.

Roann House, for over-65s, closed as a care home in 2011.

A letter to the council from designers CDP Architecture said each flat would meet government minimal size requirements of 37 sq m for one-bedroomed flats and 50 sq m for two-room ones.

Its letter said: “The proposal has been carefully considered to address all the identified constraints and issues at the site.

“We feel that it provides a suitable design for additional accommodation that provides a solution to the site with a minimal impact on the existing surroundings.”

A spokesman for the developer, Roma Homes, said: “This former care home has been derelict for many years and is in serious need of renovation, which in turn would improve the street scene in this location.

“There is also significant demand in the town for rental apartments, especially apartments that have been newly finished and are in compliance with the latest building regulations.

“This development will meet that need.

“In relation to parking provision, our development will provide five on-site parking spaces. We note that one neighbour officially commented on the application confirming that he does not struggle to find parking on the road since parking permit requirements have been put in place.

“This point is further confirmed by the independent parking assessment that was carried out, which evidences that there is adequate parking availability on the road and in neighbouring streets for any additional cars that need to be parked by residents of the development.

“We look forward to carrying out our works and offering these much needs apartments.”

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