Ombudsman to investigate alleged maladministration by Merton Council over retirement home
The Local Government Ombudsman is to investigate alleged maladministration by the council over a £21m plan to redevelop a former hospital.
Merton councillors approved plans in September 2012 to transform the former Nelson Hospital site in Kingston Road into a state-of-the-art care centre.
The proposal is to be part-funded by the sale of an adjacent site where developers McCarthy & Stone have permission to build a three-story retirement home for 51 residents.
Since approval was given, 56 residents have lodged a complaint over the council’s handling of the application for the retirement home stating their concerns were not adequately addressed and the application was not properly scrutinised.
The complaint has been taken up by the ombudsman who have agreed to look into alleged maladministration.
Mick Lafferty, speaking on behalf of residents, said: “We are accusing the council of failing to consider the application properly as required by planning policy, completely ignoring the impact on residents and the conservation areas and putting the financial interests of the NHS and McCarthy & Stone ahead of Merton’s residents.”
Chris Lee, Merton Council director of environment and regeneration, said: “As with all planning
applications, we have consulted with residents on the assisted living centre.
“The planning applications committee resolved to approve the application and considered residents’ concerns in the officer’s report.
“There are ongoing discussions between residents and the developer about the final look of the building and possible building materials.
“The planning applications committee has asked that details on materials should be taken back to the committee so there may be scope to revisit this element of the design.”