Plans to redevelop a “derelict” care home which once saw bed-ridden residents evacuated during a major fire have been rejected by Sutton Council.

A developer had sought to knock down Abbey Cheam Centre, in The Avenue, to make way for a new three-storey care home comprising 24 bedrooms.

But a refusal notice was served this week (August 8) as plans were rebuffed following the huge blaze that devastated the facility more than three years ago.

READ: April 2015: Residents saved after care home goes up in flames

Mary Morrissey, strategic director in the council’s environment, housing and regeneration department, said: "The proposed development by reason of the excessive mass, bulk and scale of the building would result in a dominant addition on a corner plot and would represent overdevelopment of the site resulting in harm to the open character of the Burton Estate area of special local character, and the Northey Avenue and The Avenue street scenes.

"The proposed development, by reason of the lack of off street car parking for a site with a extremely poor public transport accessibility level, and the inadequate layout of the proposed car parking arrangement would result in overspill car parking to the detriment of the safe operation of the public highway."

Sutton Guardian:

Abbey Cheam Care Centre after the blaze in April 2015

Other reasons, out of five, included fears over loss of privacy for neighbours and the new development's close proximity to a protected copper beech tree.

Bed-ridden residents were evacuated from Abbey Cheam Centre during the early hours of April 22 in 2015 after an overnight fire burned through its upper floors.

Firefighters who rushed to the scene saved 14 elderly residents at around 2am, including one who had to be transported by a stretcher.

A further nine were helped to safety alongside three members of staff while all were evacuated to safety.

In a statement at the time, Abbey Total Care Group said: “A fire earlier this year has led to the closure of the Abbey Cheam Centre.

“All residents were safely evacuated from the home and transferred to our sister care homes in Wallington and Banstead.

“After careful consideration, and due to extensive damage caused by the fire, we now have new proposals to rebuild the home.”

Sutton Guardian:

Residents being seen to by emergency services at Abbey Cheam Centre

Abbey Cheam Centre currently remains vacant, according to the planning application, but it's still within the portfolio of Abbey Total Care Group on their website.

The plans sought to demolish the existing building and construct a three-storey detached care home with the provision of a lower ground basement.

This would consist of 24 bedrooms, cycle parking and refuse storage as well as six off-street car parking spaces.

According to the council’s planning portal the application received 19 comments – 18 of which were objections – during the consultation period.

To see the refusal notice, click here.

To see the plans, click here.