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Council in stalemate over new Fair Havens
6:00am Tuesday 1st October 2013 in Local News
A CAMPAIGNER is calling for Southend Council to remove planning hurdles which could prevent a hospice being built on a prime development site in Southend.
The former Ekco land on the Prittlebrook industrial estate is earmarked for housing and uses which generate employment.
Fair Havens Hospice has been in talks with landowner Aviva and preferred developer Bellway Homes about buying part of the site as an alternative to its controversial application to build a £15million adult hospice on Belton Hills, Leigh.
However, to meet the terms of planning policies for the site, it would need to include an office block to provide jobs. It appears this affects the land left for Havens’ new building, making it unsuitable.
Mike King, from protest group Save Our Green Belt, believes a new direction for a site in Priory Crescent is key to the hospice’s hopes.
Calling for councillors on the planning committee to be given the chance to see the plans and potentially vote to change the policy, he said: “As I understand it, Havens with housing leaves a nice, green open space for the Ekco site, but for it to get past planning there needs to be an office block to provide employment.
“But this means Havens would be smaller and impractical.”
Southend Council leader Nigel Holdcroft said: “It would be in everybody’s best interests if Havens could find a site that would work for it and the council. It would appear there is a possibility of achieving this on this site. Hopefully a deal can be struck.”
Mr Holdcroft added: “The fact the policy exists does not prevent an application being submitted on different terms.
“There have been informal discussions with planners, the hospice and Bellway as to how it could be accommodated on the site inaway that is acceptable that works for Bellway and the council.
“Development control could make whatever decision it feels appropriate.
“The council has been fully supportive of enabling the hospice to be built on the site.
"The ball is now in Havens’ court.”
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