Dementia care facilities planned

Two landmark dementia care facilities have received planning permission following strong expressions of support from the local community and the combined expertise of an entirely Nottingham based team.

Patrick Atkinson, the owner of Church Farm Care Ltd, has applauded the positive planning decision of Rushcliffe Borough Council alongside key project consultants GraceMachin Planning & Property and Leonard Design Architects.

The Church Farm at Rusticus site has received planning permission and Church Farm at Skylarks is awaiting its formal decision notice following the completion of a Section 106 agreement after the team’s successful identification of six “very special circumstances” that fully justify why the schemes must go ahead despite being located within a green belt.

Both Skylarks and Rusticus use clever architecture such as walkways with curved walls to increase visibility and sliding partitions to allow flexibility of spaces to promote independence, comfort and quality of life for residents as well as ensuring they remain an active part of the community. In addition to increased bedroom space, the designs include independent living pods for assisted living or carer respite.

Patrick Atkinson, owner of Church Farm Care Ltd, says: “This development of two innovative dementia care schemes in Nottingham is something that the city’s residents should be incredibly proud of and Rushcliffe Borough Council should be applauded for supporting the applications. Furthermore, an entirely Nottingham team, and one that shares my passion for delivering a higher standard of dementia care and facilities for the whole community, delivered this project which I’m equally thrilled about.

“The aim of Church Farm Care is to provide the best possible care, every minute of the day. Having a fantastic environment to live and work in is a crucial part of this and reflects our belief that, above all else, people matter. We view those who live and work with us as family and approach our homes as places where people can share their life histories and support each other to live well.”

Becky Smith, dementia design specialist at Leonard Design, adds: “The support from the community has been overwhelming and despite a complex process, we’re thrilled that planning has been granted and Nottingham will be home to two innovative care facilities.

“Our team shares Patrick’s belief that care facilities don’t have to be treated as purely clinical spaces, prioritising the practical over the personal. After looking at the Dutch approach to care home design, specifically seeing first-hand the pioneering Hogeweyk ‘dementia village’ in the Netherlands, we were determined to deliver the real health benefits of intelligent design to these two schemes in Nottingham.

“Church Farm Care has proved that when a project is designed sensitively and intelligently, it will be recognised by the community and local authority as being of real value and something worth standing behind.”

Over 45 detailed supporting letters and emails were received by Rushcliffe Borough Council for Church Farm at Skylarks with particular recognition for its hydrotherapy pool. The pool is not only essential for residents, but a valuable facility for schools and community groups, with one charity stating that the pool will drastically reduce its current two-hour round trip. The expansion also includes the provision of 32 new bedrooms, five detached assisted living pods, new access routes and landscaping. 

The approved developments for Church Farm at Rusticus similarly focus on bringing the community into the centre to prevent residents becoming isolated. The scheme sees the addition of an onsite café that’s open to the public and features a snaking path which doubles as a walk through aviary. It is hoped this will encourage the community to visit alongside its onsite salon and cinema.

The approved application is for the fifth phase of Rusticus’ development following previous upgrades to the site including the reception and staff facilities, as well as the addition of balconies to the accommodation. This phase sees the addition of 30 new bedrooms and three detached two bed assisted living pods, plus further parking and landscaping.

Grace Machin Planning & Property clearly identified six “very special circumstances” which attested to the value and importance of both applications. They were: the undeniable UK requirement for specialised dementia accommodation; the innovative facilities and extremely high standard of care being created; the scheme’s sensitivity to the environment and the ideal nature of the currently underutilised location; the employment and training opportunities; the flood risk factors that the design addresses and solves; and the intelligent application of architecture.  

Nick Grace, partner at GraceMachin Planning & Property, says: “This rare pair of planning decisions speak not only to the work of our team, but to the strength of the design as well as the quality and reputation of Church Farm Care. This was a true collaboration; without any of the three elements, I don’t think we would have achieved such a positive result in such a short space of time.

“For us, the special circumstances were clear as both Skylarks and Rusticus offer so much to the community as well as promising a high quality of care to those with dementia. The design is also very sympathetic to the environment and has even reduced long-standing flood risks. This decision by the local council is a win not only for us and Church Farm Care but everyone in Nottingham as these are truly landmark schemes.”