The site of the former Oakhurst Grange care home could be sold for development as housing one year after it was closed.
The home, in Goffs Park Road, Southgate, which was run by Bupa, was closed in 2013 after the standards of care were found “wanting”.
Now residents fear the 3.78-acre site will be used for housing rather than being put back into healthcare circulation.
Cllr Michael Jones (Lab, Southgate) confirmed he had exchanged emails with West Sussex County Council’s adult services department and had been advised Bupa’s “clear intention” was to seek approval for residential development.
Cllr Jones said: “Not only is this potential development extremely concerning in that this will further reduce – permanently – the availability of care homes in the north of the county but, given Oakhurst Grange was purpose-built and covers several acres, not only does this seem a tragic waste of what, if properly run, could be a valuable facility, but the impact on the Southgate/Goffs Park Road area from the potential number of flats a developer could cram in the land available should, I believe, be a concern to all residents in the area.”
Cllr Jones’ concerns were shared by several residents.
Mike Pickett, chair of the Southgate Forum, said: “We’re concerned the number of care homes in our area is diminishing. My message to Bupa is to re-open Oakhurst Grange as a care home. It seems there is an opportunity to start again with new management, offering the high-quality service people deserve.
“We will go all out to stop any development that is not sympathetic to the people of Crawley.
The county council terminated its contract with the home last June and moved 52 residents to care homes elsewhere.
The site was advertised by property advisor Knight Frank as having “potential for development”. A spokesman confirmed that option was now likely.
A county council spokesman said: “We are aware that, at present, the site remains on the market. However, we are not privy to details of any offers or motivations for the current position.
“While the county council has a responsibility to facilitate quality and diversity within the marketplace, it is not in a position to influence commercial market forces. We continue to work with existing and potential providers across all health and social care markets to ensure demand meets need and alternatives to residential provision exist, thereby promoting customer choice.”
A spokesman for Bupa said: “No decisions have been made on the site’s future. We do not comment on commercial negotiations.”