New Haywards Heath retirement community given the go-ahead to replace vacant care home

Plans to demolish a Haywards Heath care home and replace it with a ‘continuing care retirement community’ have been approved by Mid Sussex District Council.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 10:22 am

The application to knock down Downlands Park Care Home, in Bolnore Farm Lane, and replace it with 15 cottages and 66 flats, was given the nod by the district planning committee on Thursday (July 8).

The Victorian building, which dates back to 1876 and was known as Parkfield, has been vacant since Bupa moved to another location.

It will soon make way for the flats in a staggered two-to-four-storey building, as well as the cottages, a community hub, guest suite, staff facilities and parking for 80 cars.

The application originally asked for 70 flats to be built but this was changed following advice from the council’s Design Review Panel.

Such changes prompted words of praise from Rex Whittaker (Con, East Grinstead – Imberhorne), who said: “This scheme clearly has evolved over four years – so it’s good to see applicants listening and amending schemes as they go.”

He added: “It’s delightful to see developers working hand-in-hand with the local community. Clearly they have done here, especially with the local town council.”

While the town council supported the plans, not everyone was happy.

The council received 16 letters objecting to the original plans and a further six objecting to the updated plans.

Concerns included: overdevelopment, the possibility of increased traffic along the lane and the overbearing impact the development could have on nearby Kleinwort Close.

Planning officers, however, were happy with the application..

A report to the committee said: “Whilst clearly very different to the existing building that is on the site, it is considered that the proposal is well designed and will make a positive contribution to the character of the area.”

When asked about the need for such a care home in the district, the planning officer said the government had described elderly accommodation as a ‘critical need nationally’.

He added that the council had a number of such applications going through the planning process and said: “In this district there is going to be a need for this type of accommodation. I don’t think there’s any dispute about that.”

To view the application, log on to pa.midsussex.gov.uk and search for DM/20/4159.