Tears of joy as new hospice approved

Staff and volunteers at St Catherine's Hospice after a new facility near Pease Pottage was approved
jpco-30-11-16 SUS-161124-161603001

Staff and volunteers at St Catherine's Hospice after a new facility near Pease Pottage was approved jpco-30-11-16 SUS-161124-161603001

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A new hospice and 600 homes near Pease Pottage have been approved.

Delighted staff and volunteers at St Catherine’s Hospice shed tears of joy after a new facility was approved.

Artist's impression of new homes in Pease Pottage development (photo from Mid Sussex DC's planning portal). SUS-161117-163648001

Artist's impression of new homes in Pease Pottage development (photo from Mid Sussex DC's planning portal). SUS-161117-163648001

Thakeham Homes is looking to develop a site east of Brighton Road, which would mean a new facility for Crawley’s St Catherine’s Hospice, a primary school, community building, cafe, and retail unit.

Mid Sussex District Council’s district planning committee approved the scheme at a meeting today (Thursday November 24).

A spokesman for St Catherine’s said: “We’re utterly delighted that the planning committee has approved plans for a new, state of the art hospice. It means that, alongside raising more money, we’ll be able to help more people facing death and dying and will be there for everyone who needs us, building on the great care we currently give.

“We can’t wait to share this news with out amazing supporters and turn this plan into a reality.”

Rob Boughton, managing director of Thakeham, added: “We are delighted that our plans for land east of Brighton Road have been given consent by the planning committee. We have consulted extensively with Mid Sussex District Council and with local residents, and this decision reflects this hard work. The plans for the site will help meet local housing needs, as well as providing new community facilities and open space. Our work with the Council, St Catherine’s and the local community will continue as we look to implement the plans and deliver a high quality development.”

Both local district councillors spoke in support of the scheme. Gary Marsh said he had only received two objections directly, while Andrew McNaughton added: “I think these highways improvements will make a significant difference so I fully support this application.”

Graham Ellis, a volunteer at St Catherine’s, said: “We have outstanding staff, now we want an outstanding building so that we can serve more people in the community.”

But John Welch, chair of Slaugham Parish Council, raised concerns around the impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, traffic congestion and a lack of infrastructure in Pease Pottage, flooding, and access for pedestrians and cyclists. He argued three roundabouts in close proximity would create an ‘unacceptable level of congestion in peak periods’.

Marian Ashdown, speaking for Natural England, also raised the impact on the AONB.

During the committee debate Phillip Coote said: “I think it’s excellent and I have personal experience of the hospice and they do a wonderful job.”

Margaret Hersey added: “We are very grateful to have a hospice and the people who support a hospice that do a fantastic job. They must see a future for themselves and for a position they can make the most of, and it will be fantastic for them.”

Lastly Colin Trumble said he would ‘hate to see creeping erosion’ and made a plea for high quality designed homes compared to the ‘awfully disappointing wasted opportunity of design that we see marching across our district like a scar’.

Robert Salisbury, chairman of the committee, said they had to look for exceptional circumstances in the public interest to approve the application.

A new hospice, primary school, 30 per cent affordable homes, new highways infrastructure, community funds, and meeting the district’s housing need were all mentioned by committee members.

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