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Aberdeen flat plans could fund VSA’s new mental health care centre

Cala Homes has put in plans for 35 flats in King's Gate in Aberdeen - on the site of the former Forest Grove care home
Cala Homes has put in plans for 35 flats in King's Gate in Aberdeen - on the site of the former Forest Grove care home

Dozens of new flats could be built in Aberdeen as part of work to fund a new £3.2 million specialist care centre.

Cala Homes has submitted new plans for 35 apartments on the site of the “redundant and outdated” Forest Grove care home, working alongside owners VSA.

It is hoped money raised through the redevelopment of the land can provide a “significant” boost to the charity’s state-of-the-art 20-bed mental health facility in Abergeldie Road in Aberdeen.

The existing building would be demolished.

Plans ‘substantially revised’ after dozens of objections

Previous proposals for 49 flats in King’s Gate pitched by the two partners have been “substantially revised,” according to a spokeswoman.

The move follows “extensive consultation” with those in the area after the 2018 scheme was met with howls of protest.

Rosemount And Mile End Community Council and Castlehill Housing Association backed up more than 30 residents who objected to the plans.

Council planners had also recommended the proposals were refused before they were withdrawn.

The former Forest Grove care home could soon be demolished, if plans for 35 flats on the site are approved
The former Forest Grove care home could soon be demolished, if plans for 35 flats on the site are approved

In this latest vision for the site, the flat block has been reduced five storeys to mainly three, although there is a partial four floor for a penthouse.

Ross Maclennan, land director at Cala Homes North, said: “Our vision for the site is to replace a redundant, surplus building with a high quality, contemporary flatted residential development.

“We have spent a great deal of time carefully looking at our plans, incorporating feedback and making sure it fits with the local development plan policies in order to submit this fresh plan for King’s Gate.

“This development will enable our partners at VSA to further invest in providing vital services to the children and adults it supports in Aberdeen and Cala are very proud to be part of that.

“We look forward to receiving a decision in due course.”

Redevelopment to fund new state-of-the-art VSA centre

An artistic impression of VSA's new mental health facility, currently taking shape on the corner of Abergeldie Road and Holburn Street.
An artistic impression of VSA’s new mental health facility, currently taking shape on the corner of Abergeldie Road and Holburn Street.

The aged VSA care home at 22 King’s Gate has been described as “no longer fit for purpose”.

A report, commissioned by the charity’s board of trustees into their property assets, also determined the site was not appropriate for redevelopment due to its size.

In a document submitted alongside Cala’s housing plans, the 151-year-old charity’s bosses revealed fears the scale of any unit they could build at Forest Grove would be “too overwhelming for residents and not conducive to supporting their recovery”.

This led to their decision to sell the site, putting the proceeds back into facilities in the city.

They wrote: “As part of its 150th anniversary celebrations in 2020, VSA announced plans for significant capital investment in the city, on the back of the sale of King’s Gate, as it looked to increase the number of specialist accommodation beds and units that will be available to the local authority for the future.

“Such a commitment will require a significant investment of capital to see these projects through to completion.

“As with previous capital programmes, in addition to the sale of King’s Gate, VSA will look to embark on a significant fundraising campaign to secure sufficient donations and sponsorship to meet the overall cost of its capital programme.

“The funds from the sale of the site will be invested in the delivery of new much-needed affordable supported living accommodation at Abergeldie Road, Aberdeen.”

Last year, VSA announced it had only £500,000 of its £3.2m target left to source for the new care centre, which will also have enough staff to help another 40 people at home.

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