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Moving forward together on Edenside

Oaklea held a public meeting at the Appleby Hub this week to let local people know where we are with our latest plans for transforming the former Edenside Care Home in the town.

How we got here

Oaklea Trust has been working for several years to bring an Extra Care facility to Appleby on the site of the former Edenside Care Home. This would be for local people to benefit from supported accommodation that can adapt to changing needs over time, with criteria for accommodation being over the age of 55 years and having a connection to the local area.

The proposal is to develop 12 x 1 bed apartments and 4 x 2 bed apartments on the site which will be available for rent.

There have already been many barriers to this development; including COVID delays, planning hold-ups, the meeting of all of the various flood conditions etc and the projected cost of the development has risen from an original £1M to now an estimated £4M.

The flood resilience works scheduled to take place in Appleby by the Environment Agency (EA) could also cause further delays and therefore the Charity is working in partnership with the EA, with the aim of providing the local community with a temporary car parking facility on the Edenside site, following the demolition of the existing Care Home, for the duration of the EA works.

Getting to know you

The engagement meeting was hosted by Chair of Oaklea Trust, Chris Harris, CEO Clive Wigley and Operations Director (and Project Lead for Edenside) Alex Wolfenden -they were also joined by our architect, Chris Reed.

Things to see – questions asked – answers given

It was great to hear from so many people with an interest in what is planned.

Good to hear what the community think

Chair of Trustees, Chris Harris says it was so good to meet local people who got the chance to speak to our senior team face to face.

Drawing up the plans

It was also an opportunity to see the latest plans drawn up by our architect Chris Reed – he felt the sessions had achieved a lot:

Oaklea CEO, Clive Wigley was really impressed with how many people made the effort to come and see us and ask questions – and a chance to reassure people about what will happen.

We value your feedback

Feedback from the community update event is being taken on board by the Project Team and will form part of ongoing discussions and more detailed plans at each stage of the development; including the removal and re-planting of as many of the beautiful roses currently on the site.

The meeting was well received with very positive comments, questions and suggestions from members of the community in attendance and the Oaklea Project Team and Board of Trustees are very appreciative of the ongoing support of the local community for our project proposal. Future updates on progress will be shared via our social media channels and website and by hosting further community update events, including in the evening, which will be advertised in due course.

An apple a day!

To demonstrate how much a part Edenside has played in the locality over the years – here’s an example we picked up from the session…

One of the lovely people who dropped in for the engagement meeting was local resident Judith Allen. She has lived opposite Edenside -and remembers when it was a row of cottages. She also has particularly fond memories of getting apples from the Edenside gardens! She even had a name for it – Over t’ wall apple pie’!

More context as we proceed:

Oaklea is still awaiting formal planning permission before any work can commence on the site and this is subject to a S106 agreement with the local authority (Westmorland & Furness Council); however, we believe these negotiations are almost completed. Once the planning consent is formally granted, Oaklea will be required to discharge the conditions associated with the consent before work to demolish the existing building can commence.

Oaklea’s Project Team are confident on the work they have already undertaken to prepare for these planning conditions and the Board of the Charity have approved the costs of the first phase of demolition; anticipated in early 2024; subject to further permits and permissions being in place from Statutory Authorities.

It is the present intention of the Charity to allow the use of the site as a car park by the Environment Agency; subject to a formal legal agreement being in place, for the duration of their works, approximately 20 months. During this time the Oaklea Project Team aim to review all the funding options available to the Charity, prepare for Building Regulations approvals and consider the tender process for the future development and will present this further information to their Board for approval of each next stage. Anticipated build time of the Oaklea development is currently around 18 months.

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