The importance of Demelza Hospice Care for Children has been recognised by Swale Borough Council after members approved to grant permission for the development of 20 new homes on land near Bobbing, Sittingbourne in order to fund the delivery of enhanced facilities at Demelza’s Kent-based hospice.
The 2.6 hectare development site is situated to the east of Rook Lane and north of A2 Keycol Hill. The development will provide three self-contained apartments for nursing and care staff within a bespoke new building, 80 car parking spaces and event space which will allow Demelza to hold more events, both for families and fundraising purposes.
Matthew Woodhead, said “Although the site is not allocated in the current Local Plan and is located outside the built-up area boundaries, the Council recognised that the development will fund important enhanced facilities to support the continued functioning of Demelza in Kent.”
Speaking at the Planning Committee meeting, Lavinia Jarrett, Deputy Chief Executive for Demelza Hospice Care for Children, said “There is a national shortage of nurses affecting all providers in the healthcare sector. Demelza routinely faces understaffing and we are competing with London NHS Trusts who can offer accommodation. Our main car park is not suitable for wheelchair users and is not sufficient for existing needs, likewise the limited space on site restricts us from holding events.”
The approved plans will also see significant improvements to the Rook Lane and Keycol Hill road junction, which will allow it to accommodate two-way vehicle movements, improve visibility and therefore improve the safety of the existing junction.
This was an enabling scheme whereby the income generated from the residential element would be used to finance the delivery of the new facilities. DHA's viability team were able to demonstrate that the provision of 20 residential dwellings were required in order to mitigate the costs associated with the new facilities at Demelza and associated highway improvement works which could not have been delivered on a standalone basis.
Images by Guy Hollaway Architects