Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Fair Haven planning application rejected

Whilst I am not a member of the Development Control Committee it is not surprising in planning terms that the application to build a new hospice on green belt land on Belton Hills has been rejected - even if the unanimous result of the committee was unexpected!. The case for allowing this major development had not been made out - as was made clear in the recommendation from the Council's planning officers - but it was nonetheless a challenging decision for members, particularly when faced with a well populated public gallery including many hospice supporters. I am pleased at the decision which I believe is right. Southend is one of the most densely populated local authority areas outside London and we need to fight to protect and preserve the limited green belt land we have available to us. When we allow one application it will inevitably be followed by others and this important green lung will have been lost.I remain surprised that the Hospice continued with the application even when it became apparent that there was significant public opposition. As I said to their Chief Executive before the 1st application was submitted, and whatever the planning merits or otherwise, it was always apparent that the plan would generate significant opposition and upset and for an organisation so dependent on the support of the local community what was the benefit of pursuing such a potentially divisive proposal. It is now my hope that the Hospice do not extend this damaging debate by seeking to appeal. I also hope that we can work with them to try to identify an alternative site so that they can continue their excellent and important work with enlarged and improved facilities. I would also hope that those previous supporters of the Hospice who have been deterred by this application will now put the matter behind them so that we can work together to provide the necessary financial and practical support for the future.

1 comment:

  1. Nigel,

    Might we have your thoughts on Havens Hospices looming appeal?