Chichester District Council’s planning committee voted against a recommendation to refuse plans to build a new hospice in Walton Lane today (November 11).
Despite objections from Bosham Parish Council, councillors voted 9-5 in favour of the move, also granting approval for 21 new homes on its current Donnington site.
But the decision could be taken out of CDC’s hands, after the parish council contacted the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to ask him to consider the issue.
Speaking after the meeting, St Wilfrid’s chair of trustees Angela Wormald said: “It means everything. It means St WIlfrid’s has a future.
“It’s about growth and developing services and we will be able to have a new hospice which provides a springboard for doing that.”
Officers had advised the committee to refuse the move, on the grounds developing the run-down horticultural site was contrary to several planning policies.
The site lies on the edge of the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is earmarked for at least 23 houses in the emerging Bosham neighbourhood plan.
St Wilfrid’s argued it was the only suitable location and there was ‘no Plan B’.
Officers warned members the standards to override the planning policies were high, with the application failing to meet the requirements.
But some members questioned the weight which should be given to the neighbourhood plan, which was not yet adopted, siding with the hospice’s view the site was suitable.
Others stressed the importance of dealing with the application on planning grounds, not ‘emotions’.
Councillor Julie Tassell said: “This is a perfect place to build a hospice. There’s easy access and nearby good bus routes.
“The majority of residents nearby support it and we have got to build it somewhere.”
Bosham residents expressed concern that the sewerage system would not cope with new development. Southern Water approved the solution suggested.
Reacting to the decision, Bosham Parish Council chairman Alastair Johnstone said: “It was expected. Emotions overcame policy. So many policies have been ignored. That’s democracy in action.”
Outline plans for redevelopment of the current hospice site were unanimously approved, despite residents’ concerns over access.
The hospice vowed to work with residents of Bosham going forward.
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