HERE’S what Thurrock’s first hospice could look like if plans are given the go ahead.
St Luke’s Hospice is bringing forward the proposals, alongside plans for 50 new homes to be built on the site on Malgraves Farm, Lower Dunton Road, Horndon-on-the-Hill, opposite Langdon Hills Golf Club.
A public consultation by Thurrock Council has identified the site as the preferred location for the development.
The hospice, alongside developers Countryside, will now host a new consultation from next Thursday, May 1, to allow people the chance to have their say and view the proposals.
The new hospice would twin the main Fobbing Farm site of St Luke’s Hospice in central Basildon, and be built on green belt land.
A new hospice would allow St Luke’s to expand its provision of specialist care for people affected by advanced life threatening illnesses, as well as re-locate its support services, education and administration into purpose built accommodation.
St Luke’s chief executive Eileen Marshall said: “Due to the high demands for our specialist services we have been looking for some while at options for a new hospice to provide even better care and support to more local people.
“Before we apply for planning permission we feel it is important to show our community exactly what we’re proposing and to explain the plans, as well as giving people the opportunity to ask questions.”
But Orsett councillor Sue Little has raised concerns and fears the building of a hospice would constitute the “special circumstances” required to build on green belt land.
She is worried the site, which has been subject of numerous housing bids in the past, will only see the building of a educational facility for the hospice as opposed to a caring one, leaving the door open for the 50 homes.
Mrs Little said she gathered 1,600 signatures against the proposals last year when the site was first proposed.
She told the Gazette she is not against the building of a hospice, but would prefer to see it built in the middle of the borough where it would be more accessible for “the people of West Thurrock”.
She said: “Unfortunately the council hasn’t looked at any other site or thought about anywhere else.
“The site chosen isn’t sustainable. People from Tilbury will have difficulty getting there. “Most people in Thurrock live in the west of the borough; wouldn’t it make more sense for it to be more central?
“How many buses would it take for someone to get there from somewhere like Belhus?”
*The public consultation on the plans begins on Thursday, May 1, at the Langdon Hills Golf Club on Lower Dunton Road.