Could a different style of care for older people be on its way to Godalming?

For years the residents of Godalming have been wondering when someone- anyone would come up with a cunning plan for the former MOLE Country Store one-acre site on Brighton Road. Rumours that Lidl and Aldi want to move in – have come to nothing.
The valuable site –  once home to both SCATS and the popular and long-established Alan Paine Knitwear outlet has stood vacant since the country store closed its doors for the last time in 2017. 
The Waverley Web understands that a company called Birchgrove is holding a public consultation to build 53 flats with 24-hour care in a three, and part five-storey building, in extensive landscaped grounds. A planning application is expected to be lodged with the borough council within days.
Birchgrove operates a portfolio of extra-care developments offering contemporary self-contained apartments in new purpose-built facilities. There is already a Birchgrove home in nearby Woking.
The company claims to be different from most other extra care developments in the country, as it works on a rental model. It believes that renting a home instead of owning is the most liberating form of tenure for older people seeking extra care. This offers the benefits of independent living whilst removing the complication of homeownership? The proposed one and two-bedroom apartments are only available for weekly rent to people over the age of 65.
Typical rent for a two-bedroom property is in the region of £5,000 per month – but with only council tax to pay. All other utilities and services are included.
So this:
Could become this?:
The company claims in its consultation documents that as most residents would be expected to be mainly single people aged 85 and over, there would be little need for many car parking spaces although 11 would be provided. There would be no pressure on local schools or leisure facilities and would free up numerous houses. There would be communal facilities, including a roof garden.
A number of pre-application meetings have been held with Waverley Planners, and some revisions, including a smaller footprint and a re-design of the layout of the buildings, have already been made in an effort to overcome their concerns.
There are concerns in Godalming, and almost every other town and village in the borough, that Infrastructure – including GP surgeries and nursing capacity is not keeping up with demand.
Notice: Public Consultation on the former Moles Country Store Site, Brighton Road until 11 December for more information, please visit more information on the link below.

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