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Hospice supports Dry Street building plans
ST LUKE’S Hospice could be forced to close its Nethermayne site if controversial plans to build 725 homes at Dry Street do not get the go ahead.
Proposals to build a village across the wildlife haven plus neighbouring South Essex College site are facing mounting public opposition.
However, it has now been finalised that the hospice, which will also border the development including shops and a primary school, will benefit from a donation of two-acres of land if approved.
Eileen Marshall, chief executive of the hospice explained why the land, which it is currently allowed to use as a parking area, was vital to its future.
She said: “The Hospice is in negotiations to secure our position at Nethermayne. Our existing accommodation is very cramped and is now severely hindering service delivery and expansion.
Without an opportunity to expand to support our services, our position would become untenable.
We therefore see these discussions as essential to safeguarding our position in Basildon.”
If the deal goes through the hospice would be expanded and it could potentially provide additional beds with revamped therapy facilities, some of which are currently housed in temporary buildings.
The expansion would also secure the hospice its own additional, permanent car parking area and access will be improved.
The plans involve the college, Basildon Council, and the Homes and Communities Agency.
The development will fund a new £35million college campus on the site of Basildon Market, so the existing college site can be developed.
There is opposition as Dry Street itself is an Essex wildlife site and home to rare plans and animals plus the Longwood Equestrian Centre will also have to be relocated.
Mike Goulding from the agency said: “We've been working closely with staff at St. Luke’s to ensure that the provision of this hugely valuable service to residents of Basildon and Thurrock is protected and enhanced in line with the Hospice’s needs and aspirations.
We hope that the additional land will enable them to meet their expansion objectives and safeguard the facility’s future on this site.”
Basildon Lib Dem group leader said: “Basildon Lib Dem group leader Geoff Williams opposes the development of Dry Street.
He said: “This seems as they they are trying to put their case together before the decision next month. However, the bottom line is it would be possible for the two acres of land to be handed over to St Luke’s even if the whole development does not go ahead.”
Separately the hospice also applied for planning permission last week for two-storey day therapy annexe and has also applied for Government funding to do the work. The Dry Street planning application will be considered by councillors next month.
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