Following the publication of the Planning Officer’s report on 7th December which recommended grounds for refusal, the Charity has requested more time to work on its Planning Application, alongside Southend Borough Council.
The recommendation to reject the application is mainly on the grounds that the Officers feel the “very special circumstances” needed to build on greenbelt have not been fully demonstrated.
Although the report recognises there is a need for more end of life care within the area, it hasn’t fully understood the urgency of the situation at Fair Havens. The hospice is not within imminent threat of closure, but it must plan now for what is an inevitable situation.
Chief Executive of Havens Hospices Andy Smith says, “We always said we wanted to be judged on the merits of our case and the Officer’s Report shows we have not yet fully explained the urgent need for a new hospice for Southend.
“The report also called our plans “aspirational.” Being criticised for wanting to provide the best care possible for local people is disappointing. In fact, what has been proposed is no different to other similar hospice facilities up and down the country, including Essex, and what is now expected from modern hospice care.
“The report does, however, agree with us that a new hospice is vital for our community. We welcome this opportunity to reflect and work with Southend Borough Council on our next steps towards a new hospice to care for more local people.”
Andy continues, “What has been encouraging are the hundreds of letters and e-mails we have received, especially over the last couple of weeks, endorsing our plans. This is on top of our petition which secured support from over 17,000 local people. We have gathered much strength from these and I’d like to thank each and every person who has taken the time to do this.
“We will now be taking our time to reflect on this report and what steps we take next. Our inspiration and guidance has always been the patients and families that we care for and their best interests will continue to be at the forefront of any decision we make. Our ultimate obligation is to these patients, and those we will meet in the future, to continue providing specialist care at Fair Havens for as long as is possible.”
Fair Havens Hospice is part of Havens Hospices, which also incorporates Little Havens Children’s Hospice. It provides specialist care for adults with a serious, life-limiting illness and vital support for their families.
To find out more on the Charity’s plans to create a new Fair Havens so it can care for more people, please visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/newfairhavens