Gatwick Airport has withdrawn an objection to plans for a new hospice and homes in Pease Pottage due to an increase in ‘bird strike risk hazard’.
Crawley’s St Catherine’s Hospice has partnered with Thakeham Homes to promote a new development on land off Brighton Road for a 24-bed care facility, up to 600 new homes, cafe, a community building, retail units, and a new primary school.
The hospice, based in Malthouse Road, Crawley, has 18 inpatient beds, but is not currently able to cater for the amount of people needing palliative support in the area and has limited family areas.
However Gatwick, as a consultee, originally objected to the application, as it believed the open water in the proposed ponds would attract birds ‘hazardous to aircraft’ such as feral geese, duck, grey heron and cormorants.
Thakeham has since amended its planning application and Gatwick has withdrawn its objection.
A spokesperson for the developer said: “We are pleased to have successfully agreed a modified plan with Gatwick Airport following constructive discussions to better understand the airport’s position.”
A Gatwick Airport spokesperson added: “We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Thakeham and discuss in further detail amendments to the proposed development to ensure aerodrome safety requirements are met.
“Subject to those agreed conditions being met, Gatwick is pleased to be able to remove our previous objection, which related to water bodies and green spaces rather than the development itself.”
Birds can cause damage to aircraft either by being sucked into the engines or by colliding with the windscreen, as happened in 2009 when a plane was forced to safely land in New York’s Hudson River shortly after take off.
Earlier this year, Giles Tomsett, chief executive at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “At St Catherine’s Hospice our priority is providing increased care and support services to local people and their families living with a terminal illness. Our focus has been designing a building that enables us to support more people, in the most dignified and comfortable way, whilst ensuring charitable funds are invested appropriately.”
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