Plans to demolish the former Hotel Felix and replace it with an 80-bed care home and dementia research centre have been rejected by South Cambridgeshire district councillors.

Cassel Hotels (Cambridge) submitted the application for the care home and dementia research centre last year, which would have had links to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Speaking on behalf of Cassel Hotels, David Roe, land and planning director for care operator KYN said  “We are meeting a need for care bed spaces by proposing to create a modern, best-in-class nursing and dementia care facility, providing round-the-clock care for 80 elderly and vulnerable local residents. The need was crucially noted in a recent appeal decision in South Cambridgeshire.

“The new dementia excellence centre will provide training and research into this condition between staff and leading professionals from Addenbrooke’s and NHS Foundation Trust.

“There will be on-site provision for healthcare and GP services, and there will be a significant biodiversity net gain. The number of trees on the site will increase from 84 to 139.

“The new home will create around 115 new jobs, relieving pressure on the NHS and local public health services.

“The scheme will positively contribute towards the council’s housing requirements unlocking under occupied larger homes for families. The new building will enable the delivery of expert care in a purpose-designed and built environment.”

Mr Roe said an assessment had been made of the existing building to see if the conversion was feasible, but it found the building was “suffering” from lots of issues, including subsidence.

Cllr Dr Tumi Hawkins (Lib Dem, Caldecote) was “very concerned” about the loss of the non-designated heritage asset and recognised its importance to people in Girton, though following a structural report on the subsidence referred to, she could not “take that as a fact”.

The destruction of a non-designated heritage asset was the largest concern for committee chair Cllr Henry Batchelor (Lib Dem, Linton), who felt the benefits were outweighed by the harms.

The councillors unanimously voted to refuse the plans.

Image source: Hotel Felix

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