Care home villa costs too high

This Victorian building is earmarked for demolition to make way for care home
This Victorian building is earmarked for demolition to make way for care home

Developers under fire for care home plans have told protestors it would be “unviable” to save a building earmarked for demolition.

Dozens of objections have been made to a proposal by Balmer Care Homes for a 61-bed facility in Bothwell.

One nearby resident branded the proposed three-storey facility a “monstrosity”.

Balmer, which runs care homes in Viewpark and Uddingston, says it plans to meet growing demand by building another on a site overlooking Hamilton Road and extending on to Old Bothwell Road.

Its planning application will be decided by South Lanarkshire Council. It involves demolishing the former Harte Construction offices and other, smaller buildings.

Objectors are concerned at the loss of such a prominent building in the conservation village and the impact of traffic generated by the care home, particularly in Old Bothwell Road.

Bothwell architect George Waterston said the loss to the conservation village of the “imposing Victorian building” would be “regrettable”. He called for it to be retained as part of the care home development.

However, a report lodged in support of the application said the cost of repairing the neglected building, which has lain empty since 2008, would be £1.4 million, warning: “The additional costs of creating a fit for purpose high quality home would render this option unviable.”

The report stated the Victorian villa has been subject to vandalism and storm damage in recent years. Missing lead from the roof has allowed rain in and a number of ceilings have collapsed, causing damage to internal walls.

One resident pressing for the building to be retained wasn’t convinced by the developers’ argument, telling the council: “The purpose of a conservation village is to preserve the buildings in their current state.

“Demolishing a red sandstone villa to make way for a modern monstrosity is not in keeping with conservation status.

“A local expert told me most of the red sandstone properties in the village were built with stone from the same quarry that was used to construct Bothwell Castle and Bothwell Parish Church.

“There is a link with these historic properties and to demolish such a sandstone building for purely commercial reasons is a travesty and tantamount to vandalism.”