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Charity's ex-HQ set to make way for homes

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 29, 2012

By richard youle

Catherine Zeta Jones

Catherine Zeta Jones

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A FORMER disability centre patronised by Catherine Zeta Jones will be turned into homes and flats if city planners give the scheme the go-ahead.

The Longfields day centre in West Cross closed in 2011 after the charity that ran it said it was no longer financially sustainable.

Now, under plans submitted to Swansea Council, the centre will be demolished to make way for 10 homes. A retained building at the Bethany Lane site will be converted into five self-contained flats, with garages and parking.

Six parking spaces will also be provided for the adjacent chapel.

West Cross councillor Mark Child said it was a shame that the Longfields centre, which catered for 30-plus people with learning and physical disabilities and employed around 20 staff, had closed.

He said: "It is important that provision for these people still exists in Swansea."

Asked about the planned redevelopment, he said it needed to be sympathetic to the environment.

Mr Child said he wondered if the scheme was big enough to warrant incorporating an affordable housing element.

"That is the biggest single issue I get in West Cross," said the cabinet member for wellbeing.

The planning application has been submitted by Longfields Properties LLP and Walsingham, the charity which ran the day centre after merging with the Longfields Association.

Swansea-born actress Catherine — a patron of the association — and her husband Michael Douglas made a five-figure donation in 2003 for a hydrotherapy pool at the unit.

Last year, Walsingham chief executive Paul Snell said it had carried out the merger with the "full intention of continuing and enhancing" the Longfields day service but that the losses were "too great".

A spokeswoman for the charity told the Post yesterday: "Walsingham is currently in the process of selling the Longfields site in West Cross.

"As part of this process, we have put in a joint application to Swansea Council regarding planning permission for redevelopment of the site.

"Under the terms of the merger between Walsingham and the Longfields Association in February 2010, the net proceeds of any sale of the Longfields site will be reinvested for the benefit of people with learning disabilities in the Swansea area.

"We believe that the reinvestment of the net proceeds will be an extremely positive move for people with learning disabilities in the Swansea area and we will work in partnership with the commissioning authorities to identify the best possible solutions."

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  • Hadoken84843  |  December 31 2012, 5:03AM

    I used to stick my head out of the window and do mongol noises when I was kid and passed this place on the way to the mumbles. Feel kinda bad about it now...

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  • Dooyah  |  December 29 2012, 8:02PM

    Hi gorseboy, Longfields was not residential care but, I see what you are you are gtting at.

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  • JohnSW4  |  December 29 2012, 8:00PM

    by gorseboy affordable "social" housing for them?" Most that where there where severely disabled and needed 24hr care "Under the terms of the merger between Walsingham and the Longfields Association in February 2010, the net proceeds of any sale of the Longfields site will be reinvested for the benefit of people with learning disabilities in the Swansea area. I sincerely hope so I know of one family the parents are in their 80s and the son is 50 and paraplegic Longfield was a god send to them

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  • gorseboy  |  December 29 2012, 5:55PM

    Dooyah You know the lazy reporting here any photo of CZJ will do ,she was patron of Longfields so pretty sure a photo of her there exists. The building was used by people with physical and learning difficulties.Was it not the ******* Society that ran it or am I not allowed to use that term now? The trend is for these people afflicted in this way to live in mainstream society,so why not affordable "social" housing for them?

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  • Dooyah  |  December 29 2012, 1:05PM

    Can anyone expand on the photo and its relevance to the report? GorsseinonJoe I'm sure that anyone in Swansea Labour will put you straight on the importance of affordable housing. Are you just trying to be funny? If "yes", you've failed.

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  • GorsseinonJoe  |  December 29 2012, 11:05AM

    Can anyone expand on this comment and it's relevance to the report? Mr Child said he wondered if the scheme was big enough to warrant incorporating an affordable housing element. "That is the biggest single issue I get in West Cross," said the cabinet member for wellbeing. Not being a resident in West Cross, is Mr Child, the "Cabinet Member for Well being" against affordable homes in West Cross?

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