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Havens to appeal over Leigh green belt hospice plan
8:20am Monday 22nd October 2012 in Local News
CAMPAIGNERS are urging Havens Hospices to think carefully before appealing a decision to refuse permission for a new hospice in the green belt.
Southend Council’s development control committee unanimously rejected the plans for a 16 bed adult hospice with office and training facilities on land off Belton Way West, Leigh.
Save Our Green Belt group say they are pleased with the council’s decision but want bosses at the charity to start again rather than submiiting an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate at a further cost of the charity and local authority.
Founder Mike King, of Marine Parade, Leigh said; “We are exceptionally disappointed with Havens for indicating they want to go to appeal. It’s complete nonsense.
“They need to start from the beginning, as the council said there are plenty of empty offices in Victoria Avenue for administration. Look just for a site for a 16 bed hospice and we’d be delighted to assist that. The two just don’t need to be together, Little Havens operates from an office in Chalkwell fine.
“They have upset their supporters twice already, to appeal will damage their reputation a third time, its lunatic.”
The group hope Havens can be persuaded to avoid an appeal. Mr King also believes as Southend and Leigh both unanimously rejected it, it will also fail at appeal.
However Havens are clear they will definitely appeal and expect to do so shortly with a result in the New Year. It is not known how much the process may cost but the charity believes it is worth it.
Chief Executive Andy Smith said: “We have not taken the decision to go to appeal lightly, but we are in a critical position. We will of course abide by the decision made by the independent planning inspectors.
“We would not risk the future of patient care if there was a viable alternative.
“The kind donations from our supporters will continue to help us care for those who need us right now. We are only doing what is best for our patients, and we trust that our supporters have faith in the decisions we make. We only have one chance to get this right.”
The charity has said that Fair Havens in Second Avenue, Westcliff is outdated and unsuitable as six of its ten rooms are upstairs with no lift, only stairlift access. A new hospice would provide 16 beds and be suitable for years to come.
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