doc

PLANS for 200 family homes and a new £16.5million adult hospice on a key Southend site have been submitted.

Developer Bellway Homes and charity Havens Hospices have submitted joint plans for one to four-bedroom homes and a 16-bed hospice on the former Ekco factory site in Priory Crescent, Southend.

The application, which is expected to be decided in September, also includes draft plans for two office blocks on the site, known as the Prittlebrook Industrial Estate.

The charity has an agreement with Bellway Homes, subject to contract, to buy 3.5 acres in the south west corner running alongside Priory Crescent to build a new Fair Havens Hospice so it can care for twice as many patients as it can now.

Andy Smith, chief executive of Havens Hospices, said: “It’s about ensuring there is good quality hospice care for this community in years to come, in a purpose-built hospice with modern facilities designed for the needs of people using it and to develop good community services to care for people in their homes.

“We are excited by it and think it will be great for the community.”

Residents can now have their say on the scheme, which includes plans for the housing estate entrance to be on Thornford Gardens and two separate entrances for the hospice and office blocks on Priory Crescent.

The Thornford Action Group has been set up to fight the entrance plans.

More details of the hospice, which the charity has likened to a “spa hotel” have been revealed.

Architects have added an upstairs section to the hospice’s chapel so inpatients, who will be housed on the first floor, with mobility problems can worship.

The crescent-shaped building will overlook gardens and the Ekco sports ground, which will remain.

The gardens will include a patio, so patients can enjoy more active surroundings near the building, and quieter, more contemplative areas with a pond and trees.

The number of bicycle parking places have increased from 30 to around 40, to encourage more staff to cycle to work.

Peter Marriner, project director for the hospice, said: “The outside space is really, really important. In modern hospice care the external gardens are vital.

“The patients and family members have the opportunity to sit in vibrant spaces. With the adult section, the feeling that life is carrying on is vital.

“But while they are considering that, they might need quietness and solitude.”