Safety concern over house plan in Crawley

Residents unhappy with proposed change of usage of The Gables nursing home. Pic Steve Robards SR1518290 SUS-151108-110040001
Residents unhappy with proposed change of usage of The Gables nursing home. Pic Steve Robards SR1518290 SUS-151108-110040001
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Fears that a ‘dosshouse’ could be built on the site of a closed nursing home in Ifield have been expressed by a neighbour of the building.

A planning application to convert The Gables Nursing Home into a house of multiple occupancy was submitted to Crawley Borough Council last month.

Bill Salsano, 60, who has lived in nearby Ifield Green for 13 years, said the house could be used as cheap lodging for homeless people.

He told the Observer: “What it is going to be is a house of multiple occupancy, with 48 bedrooms on the ground floor alone. At best a hostel, and at worst more like a dosshouse.

“Imagine living in a cell-like room with no facilities, just enough room for a single bed in there and that is all.

“We are obviously concerned for our safety and our security.”

The nursing home closed after 35 residents were evacuated when it flooded on Christmas Eve, 2013.

Bill said that the area is prone to flooding, making it unsuitable as a place to live.

He said: “It was evacuated by the fire brigade and it was very distressing, not least because it was Christmas Eve

“It was a joy to see Christmas celebrations and big birthdays being celebrated.

“We will never know who or what is our neighbour.”

He added that a large number of residents could also create an increased fire risk.

He said: “They will need to lock their rooms and should there be a fire, that would be an enormous problem.

“If there is another flood there will be the potential for a catastrophe.”

C&C Planning Partnership Ltd submitted the proposal to change the building’s use as a care home into a house in multiple occupation on Desai Rakesh’s behalf.

The council is due to determine plan CR/2015/0503/FUL on September 23.

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