Centre hits back against protests

PUBLISHED: 07:05 12 April 2007 | UPDATED: 10:17 31 May 2010

A CHARITY hoping to build a four-bed respite centre in Thaxted has defended its plans against opposition from nearby residents. The ResCU charity has been raising money to build a respite care centre since it was founded and the creation of purpose-built

A CHARITY hoping to build a four-bed respite centre in Thaxted has defended its plans against opposition from nearby residents.

The ResCU charity has been raising money to build a respite care centre since it was founded and the creation of purpose-built premises would be the culmination of 12 years of hard work by its volunteers.

Volunteer Debbie Stephen, ResCU's chairman of trustees, said: "I've been involved with ResCU for the last 10 years of its 12-year-history.

"We have been trying to get a centre built for a very long time and have come a hugely long way.

"We've held all manner of fundraising events - balls, quiz nights, fashion shows, coffee mornings, Christmas fairs - and we're continuing to organise events to help raise the £500,000 or so that the construction of the centre will cost."

The charity is currently preparing a planning application for the care home, which will be located on a green-field site opposite playing fields on the outskirts of Thaxted.

Mrs Stephen said: "Because it's a green-field site, planning is sensitive, but a low-cost housing scheme has recently been approved on the same land so we think we're in with a good chance."

The respite centre will be located on a half-acre plot of land and will provide a home for four young adults, aged 16 and over, in need of respite care.

The single-story building will incorporate accommodation, recreational rooms and office space. Architect Charlie Biss is currently preparing plans to be submitted to Uttlesford District Council. However, even at this early stage, the plans have been met with opposition by a local resident.

Donna Neville, who lives in a house in The Maypole cul-de-sac which backs out onto the site, fears the project may lead to over-development.

She said: "Obviously I'm not against a respite centre as it's an important facility that needs to be built somewhere, but I worry that the field, which is outside the village boundary, will be built over.

"If the landowner sells off a small part of the field for the construction of this centre, I fear the rest will gradually be sold off too."

Mrs Neville plans to arrange a protest against the construction of the respite home.

Mrs Stephen said: "The development of the land would be an issue for the planning authority, but this centre is a much-needed service for the community of Uttlesford and we'd appreciate local support.

"It's not like a great big housing scheme is being put in and we really feel we're doing the community a service, not a disservice.

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