Another £6 million is needed for new hospice

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Plans to build a new hospice in the centre of a new 600-home development in Pease Pottage have been formally submitted to Mid Sussex District Council.

But, if planning approval is granted, another £6 million will still have to be raised for the hospice project.

St Catherine’s Hospice, currently based in Malthouse Road, Southgate, Crawley, announced expansion plans earlier this year after a five acre site in Pease Pottage - worth over £5 million - was donated by local resident Bill Bridges. Meanwhile, another resident - John Shemeld - left St Catherine’s £6 million in his will.

The planned new 24-bed hospice site is part of a 112 acre area in Brighton Road, Pease Pottage, with proposals for a community hall, shop, cafe and primary school, along with the 600 new homes.

Housebuilders Thakeham Homes are covering the costs of design, surveys and servicing of the overall site, as well as providing the shop, cafe and community hall, worth around £4 million.

St Catherine’s say that last year they helped a total of 2,178 patients across Sussex and Surrey, but that there were around 4,000 people needing palliative support. “We have a long way to go,” said St Catherine’s chief executive Giles Tomsett.

“These new facilities would enable us to support more local people, through providing additional inpatient and outpatient services when they need us most, building on the great care delivered at our current site in Malthouse Road.”

It is planned that the new state-of-the-art hospice would have rooms with a separate living facility so that patients who are not confined to bed could have family to stay overnight, remaining close to their loved ones.

The plans also include increased outpatient and therapy facilities to provide extra symptom control and emotional support.

There would also be a physiotherapy gym opening out onto a courtyard.

St Catherine’s medical director Patricia Brayden said: “We know that for many people referred to St Catherine’s that the most difficult thing can be crossing the threshold of the hospice for the first time. With that in mind we’ve designed a space that promotes a sense of wellbeing and peacefulness from the moment you walk through the door.”

Although the plans are for a 24-bed hospice, experts say that the design will mean there is room to expand further and plan for the next 30 years and beyond.

The 600 new homes would be centred around a large green leisure space. The homes themselves are planned to include starter homes and bungalows, as well as high-quality family houses and affordable homes for shared ownership and rent.

The proposals have been submitted to Mid Sussex District Council for planning approval following public consultation and events attended by more than 150 people.

Building of the homes, if given the go ahead, will start next year and be phased over a number of years.

It is hoped to start building the hospice in 2019 and for patients to move in by 2020.

To find out more, visit www.stch.org.uk/futureplans