Retirement Villages Group Ltd has defended its decision to appeal against refusal of planning permission for a care facility at South Chailey.
Development Director Jami Puckering said: “There is an overwhelming need for specialised accommodation for older people in the northern part of Lewes District.
“The scheme at Gradwell Park is well located to assist in meeting this need and also will provide a number of job opportunities which will be available for the local community.
“The proposals have been substantially amended over a number of years in response to concerns raised by residents and other stakeholders. We believe that the current scheme is appropriate for the area and has addressed the issues raised.
“Although the scheme was refused permission by Lewes District Council at the end of last year, it was recommended for approval by the officers. We have decided to appeal the council’s decision and this is to be considered at a public inquiry later this year.
“This will be an opportunity for all of the relevant issues to be discussed and for an independent Inspector to decide if the proposal should be allowed. The inquiry will of course provide the opportunity for all those interested to make their views known to the Inspector.”
But the persistence of Retirement Villages has been questioned by Adam Walker, an opponent of the Gradwell Park development for 40 nursing and dementia rooms and 40 extra care facilities, who said the village had been “threatened” by the proposals for the site off Mill Lane since early 2008.
Mr Walker said: “Their first application was withdrawn shortly before it was due to be considered by Lewes District Council. In 2010 a revised application was submitted. Chailey Parish Council and all the surrounding parish councils opposed the development, more than 200 residents objected, and in June 2012 the application was rejected by LDC.” He said in 2013 a leaflet stated the company’s reason for not appealing against the earlier decision: ‘… when we invest in communities we wish to do so with the goodwill of the community’.
“This did not prevent a further revised application being submitted in September 2013. This also attracted overwhelming opposition and was similarly rejected by Lewes District Council in December 2013.”