'Total mess' - Residents' confusion as rehab centre gets thumbs-up

The former David Rice Hospital site at Drayton.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The former David Rice Hospital site at Drayton.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Councillors have backed a bid to turn part of a former hospital site into a rehab centre - but residents remain unconvinced and said the plans were "a confusing mess".

At a Drayton Parish Council meeting on Thursday, members unanimously agreed Ethos Care Providers had met conditions on matters such as appearance and landscaping, flood risk, drainage, tree impact and public footpaths.

The firm already has outline planning permission for 19 care homes and 10 social homes on the former David Rice Hospital site.

The meeting was held in Drayton Village Hall for the first time since March 2020

The meeting was held in Drayton Village Hall for the first time since March 2020 - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Graham Everett, chairing the meeting, said Broadland District Council was "certain" everything complied with planning policy, that public access to the site would be held in perpetuity and the developers would leave the rear of the wood untouched, as promised.

He added: "I know the community are concerned about this development because it is a lovely, lovely site.

"We can guess about what will happen later, but right now we can only consider what's in front of us."


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The four residents who attended the meeting said the sheer number of applications on Broadland's planning portal was "extremely confusing" for elderly parishioners living in "bungalow land" - and that many did not even know which application to click on to lodge their concerns.

The former David Rice Hospital site at Drayton.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The site has been home to many planning applications over the last 20 years since the former hospital was demolished - Credit: Archant

They added that a public meeting held by the developers online on Wednesday was also poorly advertised and inaccessible for older people.

Resident Sue Hales said: "Personally, I am not against this proposal and think it's the best thing we can hope for at the site.

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"But I'm concerned the developer has been promising the earth and may not follow through.

"I'm still sceptical that these these swanky log cabins will remain as "care facilities" and that there aren't ulterior motives. Why not build an actual care home?

"I'm worried down the line the developer will just sell them at market value."

Ethos Care Providers director Gavin Elsey has said the site will look like a "Scandinavian village"

Ethos Care Providers director Gavin Elsey has said the site will look like a "Scandinavian village" and will be in keeping with the environment - Credit: LSI Architects (Design) Ltd

Interior view of one of the rehabilitation cabins being proposed by the developer

Interior view of one of the rehabilitation cabins being proposed by the developer - Credit: LSI Architects (Design) Ltd

Jo Miller, another resident, said: "Graham knows me as a tree hugger, and I'm concerned a third of the trees to be felled are category A and B, which means they are high quality. This will lead to a serious loss of habitat."

She added: "I have ploughed through all the pages of documents on the website and I'm so confused, because Broadland documents say marketable housing, affordable housing and care, but that's not what the developer is saying

"It's a total mess."

The developers have promised not to build beyond what is specified in the plans

The developers have promised not to build beyond what is specified in the plans - Credit: LSI Architects (Design) Ltd


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