Care complex scheme ‘totally inappropriate’

The proposed site
The proposed site

A decision on controversial plans for a village care complex is due to be made by Lewes District Council on Wednesday.

Members of the Planning Applications Committee will consider the latest proposals for Gradwell Park, off Mill Lane, South Chailey.

The Retirement Villages Group Ltd wants to build 40 extra care flats and a 40-bed care home on the site.

There has been fierce local opposition to the “village within a village” scheme, with four parish councils all voting against it.

Julia Tingle, of Honeypot Lane, said there was no provision for affordable homes in the development and that the units would be in the “luxury class” and beyond the means of a large proportion of the area’s elderly population.

She said alternative sites exist, including care homes up and running. “So instead of this Greenfield site, the developers could have chosen somewhere for the elderly which allowed them easy access to facilities and shopping, which is what elderly people want,” she said.

“Here the elderly will be forced to use a car, or the sole minibus used to transport staff to work, in order to connect with the outside world.”

Miss Tingle also voiced concern about the impact on local wildlife and an increase in light pollution, and added: “It should be noted that the reduction of a mere 17 per cent since the last application was refused does not alter the fact that it would occupy as much as 90 per cent of the size of the current Chailey School and its grounds as they stand.”

Fellow opposition campaigner Adam Walker, of Mill Lane, said the application was a totally inappropriate development for such a site.

He said that although the layout of the buildings has been changed and there has been a reduction in the number of units, the overall size of the development is virtually the same as the previous submission.

He said only “the very well off” will be able to afford Gradwell Park and the location was totally unsuitable for the elderly. “Of major concern is the traffic this proposed development will generate ... creating danger for pedestrians and residents,” he said.

Mr Walker said noise “day and night” from the development would be inevitable and feared the “appalling disruption” to South Chailey during the course of construction.