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Neighbours slam ‘ludicrous’ plans to turn care home into plush private home with yoga room, library, sewing room and sauna

Proposals to transform Fairfield Care Home into an eight-bed house are to be considered by Highland councillors next week.
Proposals to transform Fairfield Care Home into an eight-bed house are to be considered by Highland councillors next week.

Plans to turn an abandoned 32-bedroom care home into a private home with a library, sauna and yoga room have been described as “ludicrous” by neighbours.

Property owner Taj Manda wants to turn his beleaguered Fairfield Care Home into a private eight-bedroom home, following its abrupt closure in 2018 after a damning inspection report.

As well as the eight bedrooms, he aims to use of the vast extra space by converting other rooms for various purposes.

Under the plans, there will be a sauna, yoga room, wine store, gym, larder, drawing and music rooms as well as a library in the house.

Members of Highland Council’s south planning committee will vote on the proposals this week.

But neighbours reckon the application is a “smokescreen” and far subsequent moves will be made to turn the building into a block of flats.

The full planning application, which has been recommended for approval, will now be put before the committee on Wednesday for final consideration.

A total of 16 bathrooms will also be located on the ground floor, to accompany a shower room.

The second floor will house eight en-suite bathrooms with accompanying dressing rooms alongside a games room, TV room, nursery, sewing room and sitting room.

Smoke screen

A host of objections have been received, opposing the plans on the grounds of road and pedestrian safety and the sheer scale of the development.

Neighbouring residents John O’Hare and Susanne MacDonald wrote: “We strongly object yet again.

“This property had been two large properties originally then a piece added in between to turn into a care home.

“To request permission to have an eight-bed house is ludicrous considering the amount of bedrooms. What would the extra 25 plus rooms be used for?

Fairfield Care Home

“It is hugely distressing for us as our property is adjacent to the rear of the care home.

“We consider this a ‘smoke screen’ for the real intended use of the property.”

Christopher Murchison of Lochalsh Road also outlined strong objections against the proposals.

He added: “No-one in the area wants to see the property fall into decline and disrepair but we feel a huge house on this scale, which will in all likelihood be turned into multi-occupancy units, would be to the detriment of the area and its residents.”

This development marks the second proposal put forward to the committee for breathing new life into the city property.

Highland councillors rejected plans last year by Inverness Property Management (IPM) to turn the empty home into a 32 bedroom guest house or budget hotel.

Councillors criticised the development’s lack of parking facilities whilst arguing that a small block of flats would be a better use of the city centre site.

The care facility at 68-70 Fairfield Road ceased operations after being served a formal improvement notice by the Care Inspectorate.

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