Fears for Budleigh hospital 'memorial' garden

PUBLISHED: 06:30 20 March 2017

Archant

Concerns have been raised for the future of the hospital garden in Budleigh Salterton - after plans were revealed to build two houses on the land.

The land’s owner, Clinton Devon Estates (CDE), has submitted an outline application to build two dwellings on the land, which has been used as a garden for the former hospital since 1887.

Historically, families have scattered their loved ones’ ashes on the land, east of East Budleigh Road, and memorial flowers have also been planted there.

At a planning committee meeting this week, the town council voted unanimously in favour of not supporting the application because of access to the site.

The council stated that the proposed access road was too close to Boucher Road and that the plan contradicted the emerging Neighbourhood Plan, which 
seeks to protect green spaces such as the garden.

Speaking at the meeting, resident Maureen De Viell said the application, if given the go-ahead, would ‘discredit’ the plan.

She said: “It [the garden] ticks all the boxes for a site where development should be resisted.

“If building is now allowed, it makes a complete mockery of the plan, puts in jeopardy the other green spaces and devalues the work which went into the plan.

“When the town’s housing needs are being met by other developments, what can two houses crammed into a small area contribute? Nothing.”

This news comes in the 
week when the lease has 
been signed that will allow work to begin on converting the former hospital into a health and wellbeing hub.

A spokesman for CDE said that as there were no longer any inpatient beds at the hospital, the site was no longer required for its original purpose, but half the site would be kept as a public park.

The hub scheme is the brainchild of Budleigh GP Dr Richard Mejzner.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Meizner said he ‘refutes’ any claim that there is no need for the hospital garden.

He added: “We’re actually developing what could go on there and we’re really hoping it will be used much more widely.”

East Devon District Council will make the final decision.

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