Care home ordered to remove ‘ugly’ visitor pod put up during pandemic
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
A care home in Penarth will be ordered to remove an “ugly” visitor pod put up during the pandemic.
Tower Hill residential home, on Plymouth Road, recently closed and its owners want to convert the building into apartments, as well as keep the Portakabin-style visitor pod.
But Vale of Glamorgan council has said the visitor pod is “ugly” and “totally out of keeping with the area”, and is set to issue an enforcement notice, forcing the home to remove it.
The council’s planning committee voted to approve enforcement action on Wednesday, October 27.
Victoria Robinson, operational manager for planning and building control, said: “These kinds of facilities were needed during the pandemic when visiting restrictions were imposed for care homes, and that was the reason it was installed in the first place.
“But restrictions have eased and also the use of the building has ceased. We see no justification to retain what is actually quite an ugly building.”
The visitor pod was first put up in March this year, to create a Covid-safe area for visitors to meet with residents. Tower Hill closed earlier this year, and the council has received a separate planning application to turn the building into residential accommodation. The pod would become a site office, if it had been allowed to be kept.
Councillor Ben Gray, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “This is attempting to retain something to add to facilities and then changing [the building’s] use. It would be an additional asset to the building potentially, but totally out of keeping with the area and it really does need to be removed.”
Penarth Civic Society also raised concerns about the plans to keep the visitor pod.
Writing to the council, the civic society said: “It is a container-like industrial structure that is clearly visible to neighbours and to users of the adjacent footpath. The Penarth Civic Society objects strongly to the retention of this structure.”
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A misleading headline, because it turns out this building is no longer being operated as a care home.