A RAFT of objections have already been lodged just days after an official planning application was submitted by developers looking to bulldoze the Greyhound pub in Norton and replace it with a large-scale care home.

Frontier Estates has now lodged an application with Dudley Council planners to build a 60-bedroom on site on the corner of Norton Road and Greyhound Lane, which is currently occupied by the pub.

Stourbridge News: The Greyhound pub. Pic - Google Street ViewThe Greyhound pub. Pic - Google Street View

In their Design and Access statement they say the design of the development "will be light, bright, spacious and homely with easy access to amenities including dining, lounges, bistro, cinema and hairdressing" and it would help to meet the demand for nursing and residential care beds in the area.

A planning statement says the intended operator is Barchester Healthcare who have been "involved in the design process to ensure that the proposals meet their operational requirements" and it adds that the proposed 2.5-storey facility with all ensuite bedrooms would offer up around 50 full time jobs.

The statement, which can be viewed in full on Dudley Council's planning website, says the building would follow the curve of the busy road junction "effectively responding to the corner location of this gateway site" and that the proposed siting of the building would allow for the creation of a residents' garden and retention of the majority of existing trees including a protected oak tree.

Stourbridge News: How the proposed care home will look. Image courtesy of Frontier Estates & BarchesterHow the proposed care home will look. Image courtesy of Frontier Estates & Barchester

It describes the plan, which includes 20 proposed car parking spaces, as a "highly attractive scheme that responds to the commercial requirements of a care home and which will provide an excellent standard of accommodation for residents" and says the proposal makes effective use of the space available and that it respects the established building line along Norton Road and Greyhound Lane.

Residents living nearby, however, have slammed the design and say the proposed facility, which would specialise in dementia care, looks too overbearing for the site which is currently occupied by a single storey building set well back from the road.

One objector described it as "austere, boring and unimaginative" and said it was "not in keeping with the rest of the road" and another said it looks like an "imposing, soulless building"; while another went further still and described the design as "an ugly monstrosity".

Stourbridge News: How the proposed care home will look. Image courtesy of Frontier Estates & BarchesterHow the proposed care home will look. Image courtesy of Frontier Estates & Barchester

People living close to the site have also raised fears about the impact the scheme would have on traffic at the already busy road junction. Residents are concerned that 20 parking spaces would not suffice and visitors to the facility would end up parking in nearby cul-de-sacs.

A number of residents have also expressed concern at the possible loss of the landmark pub. One said the boozer was "once a thriving social hub" which served as a meeting place for groups and another said: "This is the last public house in the local area after The Broadway became a local store. We need to protect community meeting places, especially for the post Covid isolation world."

The planning statement submitted on behalf of Frontier Estates, however, states the pub – which is owned by Marstons – would not be a viable proposition if the pub company were to dispose of it to a private individual, partnership or entrepreneur.

It adds: "The local community is very well served by a range of long-established public houses and, having regard to this, it is considered the proposed loss of The Greyhound public house would not reduce the community’s ability to meet its day-to-day needs."

Laura Grimason, associate director at Gillings Planning which is acting on behalf of Frontier Estates, said the care home development would bring extensive social and economic benefits to the area.

Stourbridge News: How the proposed care home will look from Greyhound Lane. Image courtesy of Frontier Estates & BarchesterHow the proposed care home will look from Greyhound Lane. Image courtesy of Frontier Estates & Barchester

She told the News: "We’re pleased the planning application has been registered and is now being considered by the planning team at Dudley Council.

"A care home is proposed in this location to respond to an identified need for specialist future-proofed and Covid secure accommodation for the elderly in the local area.

"This proposal provides an opportunity to increase provision of care beds in the local area, ensuring there are enough fit for purpose care beds for local people when they need them and leading to wider improvements to wellbeing through the delivery of care tailored to individual needs and the provision of high quality communal facilities which will be delivered by our operating partner Barchester Healthcare, an experienced national care home operator. We believe the social benefits of the scheme are extensive.

"The proposal is forecast to deliver significant economic benefits for the local area with construction alone expected to generate around £6.6 million of investment in addition to 47 construction jobs and 71 jobs in the wider supply chain.

"Once up and running, the proposed care home is anticipated to support around 50 full time equivalent jobs in a range of positions from nursing to administration and up to 15 further indirect jobs in local shops, services and businesses.

"The care home is expected to generate around £2.6 million per year for the local economy whilst also resulting in around £2.3 million of healthcare cost savings per year for the local authority.

"We acknowledge the design and appearance of the care home has generated a lot of public interest to date and we reiterate that we are happy to work with local residents and Dudley Council to refine the proposals."