COMMUNITY councillors in Helensburgh have given their backing to plans for a new care home in the town - but have criticised the "unimaginative" designs for the facility.

Proposals to demolish the existing Argyle Lodge nursing home at 21 West Argyle Street, and to replace it with a new facility on the same site, were lodged with Argyll and Bute Council last year.

Applicant Sachin Unadkat of Clearvue Investments Ltd in London is seeking permission for the "demolition of [the] outdated care home building and [its] replacement with a new 30-bedroom care home".

According to a design and access statement submitted with the plans last year, planning permission was granted for a new-build care home at the site in 2011, and was partially implemented - but that the proposals approved then will no longer meet Care Inspectorate guidance for 'small group living'.

The proposals include activity rooms, lounges, a gym, a cinema room, dining rooms and quiet rooms.

The design statement says: "The building layout has been set in such a way as to provide 'neighbourhoods' of 10 residents which can further be subdivided into smaller groups to reflect the needs of residents.

"This reflects current Care Inspectorate guidance on best practice."

Four members of the public have lodged objections to the plans, citing concerns at over-development of the site and the consequences for traffic, parking and road safety, as well as the impact on neighbouring properties.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Argyle Lodge is part of the Argyle Care Centre on West Argyle StreetArgyle Lodge is part of the Argyle Care Centre on West Argyle Street (Image: Robert Potter & Partners/Argyll & Bute Council)

And while Helensburgh Community Council [HCC] are happy to see plans for a new unit that will meet increasing demands for care facilities in the town, they were critical of the “institutional” design and hoped to see more “modern, uplifting” plans.

The community council's response to the application was lodged with Argyll and Bute's planning department in October.

In its response, HCC said: “HCC welcomes the new care unit which will help meet the constantly increasing demand for modern care home accommodation.

“[However], Argyle Lodge is already an over-developed site in contrast with neighbouring properties.

“A modern, uplifting design is required reflecting the value the local community places on them.

“By its very nature the proposed new unit will add to the overcrowding.

“To help compensate for this requires a care unit whose design is distinctive, interesting and contributes to Helensburgh’s famous domestic design legacy.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Plans showing the elevations of the proposed new care home on the site of Argyle LodgePlans showing the elevations of the proposed new care home on the site of Argyle Lodge (Image: Robert Potter & Partners/Argyll & Bute Council)

“Unfortunately, what is being proposed does the opposite.

“It is unimaginative/uninspiring when assessed against the characteristics of HCC’s plan-based design statement.

“Instead, HCC has recommended a care unit of unashamedly modern design which is striking, uplifting and attractive as well as functional – not institutional.”

The community council also voiced support for the concerns raised around traffic issues, and have suggested a 20mph speed limit be introduced on the stretch of West Argyle Street between John Street and Sinclair Street - as well as the introduction of parking restrictions and better sight lines at the grounds’ entrance.

The community council also backed concerns raised around waste disposal, with some objectors having complained about the current facility's lack of bins and claiming of an overflow of domestic and clinical waste.

A decision on the application was originally expected by November last year, but that was later extended after the plans were altered in response to comments from Argyll and Bute roads officials - who did not object but suggested several conditions relating to road safety.

The consultation on the amended plans closed on October 9.

To view the plans, visit the council’s planning portal at and use the reference number 22/01420/PP.