Fell View sold

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LONGRIDGE's former Fell View Home for the Elderly on Barnacre Road has been sold to a care home owner from Preston.

It is understood that previous owners Lancashire County Council received 790,000 for the property from a Mr AKI Patel of Fulwood, who is said to also run care homes in Cleveleys and Catforth.

The sale has already gone through and The News was this week unable to contact Mr Patel to discover what plans he now has for the site.

It was put on the market in June after Ribble Valley Borough Council rejected LCC's planning application for extra-care accommodation which would have replaced the Fell View home, closed almost three years ago.

This would have provided 48 flats, eight bungalows, a day care centre and other care facilities.

But the county council scheme was rejected by borough planners because the opportunity for affordable housing was not ensured.

At the time, borough planning chairman Coun Richard Sherrass added that the case for exception had not been made and details as to who the bungalows would be sold, whether for affordable housing or local residents, were not clear.

This week, a borough spokesperson said the Fell View appplication had gone through its planning process and had been rejected.

The LCC's cabinet member for adult social care, Coun Chris Cheetham - who in 2002 set in motion the consultation process on the future of the county's 48 care homes which lead to several closures including Fell View's - said this week: "We made the planning application to Ribble Valley for extra care housing and they rejected it.

"At that point, it was no use to us so that is why the site was sold.

"The only reason is because we could not get that vital permission - and no-one is more disappointed than me at this outcome.

"Local county councillors are also bitterly disappointed. I think Ribble Valley lacked imagination. The extra-care facility was a very good idea for the community, and the borough did not seem to respect what local people wanted."

County Coun Mary Wilson, who is LCC shadow porfolio holder for health and adult social care, said she felt the decision to sell had been 'very sad' but, as the 40 year old building had been no longer fit for purpose, she now looked forward to a new future for the site.

Reaction in Longridge to the news has been mixed but matches the disappointment and disbelief when the sale news was announced in June.

Kath Worden, whose vigorous campaign three years ago to keep open Fell View collected over a thousand signatures, said most of the last residents had died since they were moved, and she felt this could have been due to the trauma of leaving what they had looked upon as their home.

Former town councillor David Coulston, who lives opposite the site, said he was happy to know 'it was likely to be a nursing home again.'

"But," he added "I feel Ribble Valley's refusal decision was foolish in turning down what could have been a 2million facility offering a much wider care package for people in the area."