CONSTRUCTION work has begun on the first of two new care homes which will be delivered in Chard over the next 12 months.

Somerset Council granted permission for two significant new homes within the space of two weeks – a 70-bed facility on the A30 East Street (submitted by the Maria Mallaband Care Group) and a 66-bed facility on the A358 Furnham Road (submitted by LNT Care Developments).

LNT Care Developments has now begun work on its chosen site, which lies between the A358 and Chaffcombe Road, leading to Chard Reservoir.

The new facility is expected to bring more than 50 new jobs to the town once completed, with the East Street site expected to add a further 80 jobs once it has been finished.

While the new care home will be accessed from Furnham Road, construction traffic is currently accessing the site from Chaffcombe Road, using two points of access opposite the existing properties.

Security fencing has been erected at these access points, preventing unauthorised personnel or vehicles from entering the site.

A significant section of the site will need to be raised to prevent a level access with the A358 (near the existing junction with Thorndun Park Drive) and prevent localised flooding.

Once completed, the facility will have 66 beds, arranged over two storeys.

The new facility is expected to bring more than 50 new jobs to Chard.The new facility is expected to bring more than 50 new jobs to Chard. (Image: Daniel Mumby)

In addition to en suite wet room facilities in every room, the care home will include a café/ bar area, dining rooms, lounges, a library, garden room, cinema and hairdressers.

A spokesman for the developer said: “Residents will benefit from a range of facilities that reflect modern day-to-day amenities that provide a choice of entertainment, encourage socialisation and provide good well-being.

“Wide corridors are provided to allow ease of movement, interesting features and an open and social environment throughout the care home.

“The whole development is easily navigable, with key recreational/ communal facilities clearly signposted and located in central areas to foster socialisation and inclusion.”

LNT Care Developments secured permission for an identical facility on Highfield Road in Yeovil in October 2023, and is currently consulting on proposals for another identical care home within the Killams Park development in Taunton.

Somerset Council and its predecessors have been working for many years to secure the delivery of the Chard eastern relief road (ERR), which is intended to connect the A358 Tatworth Road to the A358 Furnham Road (via the A30 Crewkerne Road) to take traffic away from the town centre.

Only one section of the entire ERR has been delivered to date – namely Oaklands Avenue, which runs north from A30 Crewkerne Road through the Oakwood estate (built by Morrish Homes) and currently terminates at the Chard Reservoir car park.

To enable the eventual delivery of the ERR section between this car park and Furnham Road, a strip of land is being left vacant between the new care home and the proposed Welcome Home Farm development of 67 houses.

The council has not confirmed when construction work on the East Street site will begin.