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Havens hospice plan set for rejection again
8:23am Thursday 11th October 2012 in News
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a £15million hospice on green belt land look set to collapse for the second time.
Planning officers at Southend Council have recommended councillors reject Havens Hospices’ bid to develop a Salvation Army site, off Belton Way West, Leigh, when they meet on Wednesday next week.
Havens believed its proposals, which are almost a carbon copy of the first planning bid submitted last year, were likely to be given the green light by the council.
But officers argued the charity had skewed its logic in choosing the Belton Way site and called for it to consider expanding its Little Havens children’s hospice site, in Thundersley, instead.
Havens bosses said they were “bitterly disappointed” with the assessment on their proposals and accused planning officers of reneging on agreements.
Andy Smith, the charity’s chief executive, urged councillors to ignore the officers’ recommendation, when they sit down to pass a final judgment on the plans next week.
He claimed the hospice had held several meetings with planning officers, in which they had advised extending the search to green belt sites.
He added: “We feel extremely let down by the officers.
“So much of the report fails to reflect agreements made with them, in meetings over the past ten months.
“It’s as if they didn’t happen. We have done everything they asked of us and cannot understand why the planning officers have not stood by their agreements.”
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