Plans to demolish a former Penrith care home and grass over the area it sits on have been met with resistance.
Cumbria County Council intends to demolish the two-storey former Greengarth care home at Penrith’s Bridge Lane as the building is said to be a vacant property which has been out of use for a long period of time.
Stated within the planning application which has been made to demolish the building is the fact that the site had only been used intermittently by the police, for training purposes, since its closure last year.
It was felt to be imprudent to invest any more money to upgrade a building, which was not cost-effective to run, and which would ultimately become a financial burden, according to the plans.H
owever, Penrith town councillor Jonathan Davies, who has spoken to others in the community of the same mindset, says he feels this building — if the county council has no future use for it — should be handed to the community to repurpose and deliver a valuable community asset for Penrith.
“I am making a public call for the county to hand the building over to the community to look to make the space a community hub for Penrith with a strong need to look at post-COVID provision for the younger citizens of Penrith to have a space that is safe and has facilities they can use,” Mr Davies told the Herald.
“There is also a lot of other scope for a community hub for Penrith or even as an alternative a space to act as a catalyst for small business to grow that could be linked with Ullswater Community College even as a small business growth space.
“Although my first preference if the community support would be to evolve a Penrith community Hub for all to benefit from.”
County councillor Pat Bell told a meeting of Penrith Town Council that the plan was to demolish the building, take away everything except the trees and then grass the area over.
She said before the county council took its decision to demolish it, there were many internal discussions about whether the building could be converted into anything else.
One suggestion included whether it could be used for COVID positive patients which needed to be discharged from hospital, but who no longer needed acute care, however that was not possible, she said.
“The last thing we want is for the building to fall into disrepair and to look absolutely terrible. It should look good when they’re finished and the grass is grown,” said Mrs Bell.
She added that the Care Quality Commission would not reregister it as a care home because the building was not fit for purpose.
If the planning permission is approved, it is hoped demolition work will start next month and be completed by May.