Land sale to finance new care home

Abbotsford House Care Home, Bearsden
Abbotsford House Care Home, Bearsden

The owners of a care home want to sell land they bought from the council for £82k, and a property, in a deal thought to be worth around £1 million.

Westpoint Homes has submitted a planning application for a residential development on land at 41 Drymen Road, Bearsden, which the owners of Abbotsford House Care Home, Morrison Community Care Group (MCCG), say is now ‘surplus’ to requirements.

They also hope to sell a residential property - Abbotsford Lodge, on Canniesburn Road.

They purchased the land from East Dunbartonshire Council in 2011 for £82,000, with the intention of creating a sensory garden for residents at Abbotsford House Care Home. The deal included an overage payment to the council if they decided to sell the land at a later date.

After finding out that it was going to be too expensive to build a new disabled access into the gardens the care home owners decided to sell the land.

They say that due to the extreme change of levels on the land, and even with a new ramp, it was still too far for residents to walk to the gardens and they remained unused. But they still had to pay for regular maintenance and upkeep.

Now, according to a local source, the land and lodge is believed to be worth around £1million depending on eventual planning permission.

Westpoint Homes are proposing a four storey development of 14 apartments with the top storey set back from the building and underground parking ‘to ensure the surrounding grounds will be landscaped to the highest standard’.

The lodge will be retained and marketed as a dwelling house and they say the majority of existing trees will be kept.

Bearsden resident Alan Oliver said: “Taking aside the impact of this development on local residents surely this, at best, was the most incompetent disposal of council property ever.

“If it goes through that’s tax payers money being thrown away.

“Objections to this development, on the basis that up to four years ago this was ‘common good’ land and is currently a ‘conservation area’ can be submitted to EDC Planning at www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/planning .”

Paul Sokhi managing director of Morrison Community Care Group, said: “Our hope now is that the planning application will be granted, and the group can use the funds from the land purchase to pay the council the overage payment and to develop a 45 bedroom care home in the local area this year, with the hope of an opening in May 2017, bringing much needed care beds as well as jobs to the local area.”

Thomas Glen, director of development and regeneration, said: “The Policy and Resources Committee agreed on October 20, 2011, to sell the land.

“In such circumstances it is common practice to include a clause which states that should the purchaser be granted planning permission for any future development - other than the use specified at the time - then the purchaser would be required to pay the council an additional sum.

“As the sale is commercially sensitive it would be inappropriate to comment further, except to emphasise that the council is committed to achieving best value.”