Up to 80 new jobs coming to Chard town centre as 70-bed care home approved

Planned site of 70 bed care home on the A30 East Street in Chard
-Credit: (Image: Daniel Mumby)

Up to 80 new jobs could be created in Chard town centre after plans for a 70-bed care homes were approved. The Maria Mallaband Care Group teased details back in February 2021 of a new care home on the A30 East Street in Chard, near the town's Lidl supermarket.

The company formally submitted plans to South Somerset District Council in May 2021, but a decision was repeatedly delayed as a result of the ongoing phosphates crisis, which is hampering development within the Somerset Levels and Moors catchment area. Somerset Council (which replaced the district council in April 2023) has now given the plans the green light, meaning construction can begin by the end of the year.

The site lies on the southern side of East Street, opposite the entrance to Clark's Close and very close to the Happy Return public house. The approved plans will see a new access road created onto East Street, similar to the access secured under the 2018 planning approval (which gave permission for 78 flats within the same footprint).

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The care home will house up to 70 residents, with none of the new residential rooms facing onto the existing properties on and around East Street. In addition to the vehicle access, a new footpath will be created to access the main road between 12 East Street and The Happy Return, and improvements will be made to the existing pavements as part of a £13m investment in the site.

To overcome the phosphate issues relating to the site, the developer will purchase phosphate credits in order to fund mitigation elsewhere in the catchment area (such as creating wetlands or planting trees). The Maria Mallaband Care Group operates 80 care homes across the UK, with its nearest active operations to Somerset being Brunel House in Corsham, Wiltshire and Kings Manor in Ottery St Mary, Devon.

Artist's impression of the proposed 70-bed care home on the A30 East Street in Chard
Artist's impression of the proposed 70-bed care home on the A30 East Street in Chard -Credit:Frontier Estates

The company stated in mid-2021 that the Chard site would be "constructed and serviced to a very high standard, and will bring measurable benefits to the local community from the improvement of the current site condition, to the creation of up to 60-80 new employment opportunities within the local area." The plans were approved by the council's planning officers through their delegated powers, rather than a public decision by its planning committee south (which handles major applications within the former South Somerset area).

Mickey Green, the council's executive director for climate and place, said: "The proposal would provide much needed care accommodation of an appropriate scale and design in a highly sustainable location. It would not cause demonstrable impact upon residential amenity, highway safety or upon the character and appearance of the area."

Construction on the new care home is expected to begin by the end of the year. A decision on an additional care home in Chard - located off the A358 Furnham Road, not far from the reservoir - is expected to be taken before Christmas.