Planning inspectorate says major nursing and care complex in South Chailey can go ahead

Gradwell Park, artist's impression
Gradwell Park, artist's impression
  • Lewes District Council rejected the scheme
  • More than 75 local residents objected

A controversial scheme to build a major nursing and care complex in South Chailey has been given the go ahead by the Planning Inspectorate.

Developer Retirement Villages Group wanted to set up the development on land in Gradwell End but Lewes District Council turned down its planning application at the end of December 2013.

District council planning officers had recommended the scheme for approval but the planning committee said the care complex should not go ahead because it was unsustainable and isolated, would detract from the rural character of the area and because of its appearance.

Development director for Retirement Villages Group Ltd, David Phillips said: “This scheme will help to address the growing need for better care provision for the elderly population in this area of the county.

“We look forward to getting started.”

Construction will start late in 2016.

The care complex will house 40 nursing and dementia rooms and 40 extra care units.

Planning inspector Richard McCoy said there was no prevailing design style to be found in the buildings near the site so the designs which reflected the Sussex style of housing found in the countryside was acceptable.

He added the size of the development would be in keeping with the surrounding area.

The inspector said: “The proposal would be centrally located to serve the northern rural part of the district where there is an identified need for additional elderly care provision.

“While I note the intention to reduce bus services to the local area, given the nature of the care provided and the elderly age of the residents , I consider most would be disinclined to travel by car.”

He added a dedicated minibus serving staff and residents would ensure the proposal would not generate significant numbers of extra care journeys.

He also said there was a local need for more housing.

Amongst the objectors to the scheme were parish councils in Chailey, Hamsey and East Chiltington.

The district council received more than 75 objections from residents.

Local resident Adam Walker had long been an opponent of the application and had previously said: “The proposal would result in a very large new development in the countryside, in an unsustainable location and not in conformity with any of the planning policy exceptions for new development in the countryside.”