PLANS to expand a Cudworth care home by demolishing a former cinema have been submitted to Barnsley Council’s planning board.

Belle Green Court care home currently has the capacity for 42 occupants - but applicant Jeevan Shergill is hoping to increase that number to 60.

The original care home was built in 1998 by the previous owners, but Mr Shergill purchased both the care home and the adjacent cinema building in January and February 2020.

He originally aimed to expand the home at that time but the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the home were forced to close for any new residents, leaving the expansion on hold.

As the country has moved out of Covid, plans to extend the home were further hampered by subsequent management and staff issues, which have now been resolved whilst the current economic crisis and build costs have added further complications to the development.

Plans have now been officially submitted to demolish the former Rock Cinema on Market Place.

Very little is known about the cinema, except that the late Barnsley broadcaster Michael Parkinson used to visit in his youth.

It opened on February 24, 1928, with the silent film ‘Michael Strogoff’ before closing as a cinema on April 28, 1962.

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The site then reopened as Walker’s Bingo Club before turning into Ramsdens - a shop specialising in children’s toys and nursery goods.

However it has remained closed since 2019.

A report states there has been no interest in using the site for any other purpose and therefore Mr Shergill is asking to demolish it.

“Since the applicant’s purchase of the building, whilst they have not actively sought to rent the site as the greater value is in the expansion of the care home, there have been no enquiries for short-term leases or seasonal lets that sometimes occur on similar premises,” it added.

“Although a significant building and visible off of Barnsley Road there are no other retail premises in similar locations, a single small retail unit on Market Place also closed with proposals for conversion.

“Any future retail use would also potentially exacerbate the current parking issues with the local public house and fast food takeaways on Barnsley Road.

“It is also clear that there is no current demand for retail or other ‘town centre’ uses.

“In the current economic climate there appears likely to be little future demand and owing to general changes in retailing, the likelihood of the retail use or there commercial uses of the site become viable seems to be slim.”

The public are generally behind the plans, according to the report.

If the site is demolished, a further 18 new rooms will be added to the site - something which the applicant says is ‘much needed’.

“The growth in need for elderly care has been well documented both locally and nationally, Barnsley being no exception,” the report added.

“The unanimous response was in favour of both the care home extension and residents welcoming the proposals as an uplift to the area in respect of the overall design and the benefit to the community.”

A total of 47 neighbouring properties have been made aware of the plans with no appeals to date.

Public consultation ends on July 2.

Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council and a local Cudworth councillor, told the Chronicle: “The three local members in Cudworth are supporting this application.

“It will sadly, but necessarily, mean the removal of the Ramsdens building.

“We appreciate that it’s been there for a long time but despite our best efforts we’ve not been able to find anyone to take over.

“It’s an eyesore in the middle of the village and it’s a dilapidated building.

“There’s no alternative but it’s a positive that the care home is expanding.”

He says that once work is completed on the care home the area itself will receive some TLC.

“We also have plans to improve the ‘pond’,” he added.

“Once the work is done then we’re going to make some public realm improvements.

“That’ll be an improvement for residents in the area.”