Rapleys Cambridge Town Planning team gained approval from West Suffolk Council’s Development Control Committee last Wednesday for the introduction of a pioneering dementia care concept to the UK, at a site in Little Wratting, near Haverhill.

The Cambridge team submitted a detailed planning application in February 2021 and then monitored and managed it proactively to ensure that the case officer was able to recommend approval of the application despite the site’s countryside location. The team worked closely with statutory consultees, responding to their comments and addressing any concerns throughout the determination process.

Strawberry Care appointed Rapleys at the outset of the project. Early instruction meant that Rapleys were able to guide them through the sequential approach to searching for, assessing and identifying sites, and then to help them evidence the need for the scheme. This was critical to justifying the site at Little Wratting, which was identified as the most sequentially preferable, and, ultimately, to enabling the case officer to make a robust recommendation for approval of the scheme.

Strawberry Care Director, Phil Jordan commented: “I applaud Rapleys Town Planning team for the great work they have done in securing this resolution; highly professional and a pleasure to be involved in”.

Richard Sykes-Popham, head of Rapleys Cambridge Town Planning team, commented:

“We’re delighted Strawberry care can now start to plan the delivery of their first dementia village.

Their unique care model makes this result even more rewarding. It also completely justifies the committee’s decision, which required them to make an exception to the local plan.”

The scheme will be home to 120 residents who will live together in 20 shared apartments, each with 6 bedrooms. Together with the various community buildings and an internal arrangement of streets and squares, the development will create a small village where residents are both safe and free to roam; the aim being to enable them to live a normal life despite their diagnosis. The Little Wratting site is ideally suited to this use. The primarily self-contained scheme will be well screened by existing vegetation and will benefit from a quiet environment without the kinds of peak noise events that are known to cause distress for those living with severe dementia.

The village is expected to open in 2023 as a market leader in all senses, including through its use of lower-carbon construction and renewable energy generation measures.