Neighbours of Horsham nursing home feel ignored by council

Gerald Howard, Chris and Pat Scott neighbours of Greenways Nursing Home in Comptons Lane Horsham (JJP/Johnston Press). SUS-140917-124741001
Gerald Howard, Chris and Pat Scott neighbours of Greenways Nursing Home in Comptons Lane Horsham (JJP/Johnston Press). SUS-140917-124741001

Neighbours of a Horsham nursing home feel their views were disregarded when an extension to the building was approved by the council.

Horsham District Council granted permission for a two-storey extension to Greenways Nursing Home in Comptons Lane in August despite several objections from residents.

While some members of the council’s Development Control North Committee argued that the application represented overdevelopment of the site, others felt it was an ‘acceptable compromise’.

Chris Scott, who lives in Pollards Drive and whose back garden will be overlooked by the extension, feels residents have been totally ignored by the council, and has raised serious concerns about the development’s effect on flooding, with water rising to ground level in the area during winter.

He said: “There are so many issues which have not been resolved.” He said the council had ‘not resolved boundaries and water problems and noise problems’. “Nothing has been addressed so why have they passed it?” he added.

He has been in contact with West Sussex County Council’s principal drainage engineer who said saturation tests would be undertaken to make sure the ground can soak up all the excess water.

Mr Scott and his neighbours believe these and other issues should have been resolved before planning permission was granted.

Mr Scott also claims there were several errors in the officers’ report presented to councillors including the distance between his property and the care home, and the length of time it has been a care home.

A spokesperson for HDC said: “Whilst residents may feel that there were inaccuracies regarding the officers report, should they wish to pursue this they may do so through the councils complaint procedure.

“However, with respect to the points that have been raised, the Committee made their decision having regard to the representations received, both in writing and at the meeting. The site has a considerable planning history and whilst there may have been intervening uses, the Committee had regard to the principle of the development which was acceptable in the light of prevailing planning policy.

“With respect to the relationship to the southern boundary of the site, this is addressed within the officers report. The measurements referred to reflects those set out on the submitted plans and the report carefully assesses the impact of the development on the amenity of the adjoining occupiers, referring not only to the scale and form of the development, but also the existing tree cover on the boundary.”

Gerald Howard, who lives in Comptons Lane, added: “They should have had it sorted out and had a meeting with all of us local residents to have a discussion.”

He also described how they were affected by noise from the site.

He continued: “The whole thing is these places are wanted, but it’s not the type of place in a residential area to expand.”

In response Greenway’s owner Naz Manji described how the nursing home had been acquired by award-winning care providers, with redevelopment needed to withstand the future needs of a growing and ageing population.

Prior to submitting the initial application he said that all neighbours were invited to an evening reception to discuss the plans with the nursing home’s management and architects.

Mr Manji added: “Greenways is a registered residential and nursing home caring for those with life limiting illnesses and requiring 24 hour nursing care. It also cares for those living with Dementia.

“Greenways was acquired by award winning care providers who wished to provide something unique and different to the local community. The redevelopment of Greenways is long needed and will withstand the future needs of an ever growing and ageing population.

“The property and site itself has considerable planning history and the existing building only occupies around 30% of the land it sits on.

“A formal application was lodged in 2013 and was subsequently refused over concerns relating to the overdevelopment of the site, issues of flooding, proximity to the boundaries of neighbouring properties and noise from the home.

“The owners of Greenways spent the following 12 months in talks with the local planning authorities addressing the issues mainly brought up by the neighbours and which led to the refusal.

“As a result the bulk and mass of the scheme was reduced by some 100 sqm and the building line drawn back significantly from the boundary. Addressing the issue of surface water drainage had been put in as a condition of planning and specification plans have been drawn up to install a state of the art drainage system. Noise pollution experts have been instructed to carry out pre and post build sound testing and the business is looking into measures to minimise the noise from the home.

“In all the home owners and the county council have worked tirelessly to come up with a design that fits and works well and as a result have made the correct decision in passing the revised plans.”