Care home gets planning consent

Architect's design showing front entrance of the proposed nursing home

Rother District Council has approved planning consent for the new 60-bed nursing home to be built in Rye Foreign.
The decision, which was largely predicted, was made after a 45-minute debate at the council’s Planning Committee, which voted ten to one in favour of approval.
It’s safe to say the decision came as a relief to the nursing home co-developers, Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital and Greensleeves Care. One supporter turned to another after the meeting and joked: “See you there in ten years”.
The £8m nursing home project had received some significant opposition from residents adjacent to the site and from those who believed the facility was too large and should not be built inside the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Opposition also came from all six GPs working at the Rye Medical Centre, who said the extra workload from the nursing home would place an unacceptable clinical burden on them.

The site for the nursing home

Planning Committee members took on board the doctors’ concerns but the majority clearly did not believe they were a deal-breaker. At the meeting the case for approving the home focused largely on emotional reasons why a nursing home was needed. The developers’ agent claimed that objections had been noted and addressed.
However, one objector observed after the meeting that as the nursing home will sit well to the west of the current development boundary, opening up pristine hillside land to the north to development, the Memorial Hospital should guarantee never to develop or sell this land — as this would further destroy Rye’s surrounding natural landscape.
RDC Councillor for Rye, Lord Ampthill, although speaking in favour of the nursing home development, conceded that, “The one thing that’s a concern is that the doctors haven’t backed this scheme to the hilt”.  
A number of conditions were imposed on the nursing home developers regarding issues such as environmental protection and land remediation, waste management, wildlife protection, archaeological investigation, drainage and privacy screening for nearby residents.
[Editor’s note: There has been opposition to this development, much of it on the grounds mention above, but also no little support. Acknowledging this later Barry Nealon, Chairman of Rye, Winchelsea and District Hospital issued a statement saying, “I am delighted we have a decision and can now move on. I will be writing shortly to thank the 400 people who signed the petition in support of the planning application.“]

Photo: Rye News library


  1. How can the planning committee run totally rough shod over the opposition to this money making ridiculously big scheme? Clearly none of them live in the immediate area and will have to suffer the huge amount of extra traffic already on a busy road, or have had to wait two weeks to see a doctor. How can they have ignored our doctors opposition. They will be in the front line of care for the residents, of all too few will be local people.
    This makes a complete mockery of the AONB. The beauty of this area should not be ruined just because a big money grabbing company want to make even more profit.
    What next?

  2. I am really pleased that the nursing home has been approved, this is something that Rye desparately needs. As someone who has recently had to place my mum in a nursing home this would have been ideal instead of having to travel to Bexhill every other Day. Well done to Barry and his team.

  3. Delighted that planning permission has been granted for this much needed care home. Very surprised that the leading and most vociferous campaigner against the home provided the editorial under News, surely it should have been an Opinion. Disingenuous of him to suggest the 400 supporters of the petition did so for emotional reasons. Surely it makes sense in the latter stage of life to be able to live close to home, family and friends in beautifully designed, comfortable, spacious surroundings with excellent professional care and other medical facilities close at hand including outpatients,, district nurses, therapy, counselling as well as GPs. Would also add that the developers, Greensleeves are a major non profit making charity (took over WRVS Homes) and not a money grabbing company as suggested above.

  4. In reply to Mrs Compton. I thank her for mentioning her position as Vice-Chair of the Memorial Hospital. Sadly, this was something she failed to do when she and fellow Board member Mrs Paddy Coulman wrote “support” letters to Rother DC. Both of them were subsequently obliged to lodge follow-up letters declaring their affiliation. A further six individuals connected to the hospital also lodged letters of support. My opposition to the nursing home is well known. It’s based on the fact that the home will be built in the High Weald AONB and the fact that all six Rye Medical Centre GPs oppose the plan because it will place services to their 7,500 patients under extreme pressure. I ask Mrs Compton to confirm whether she told Playden Parish Council about the AONB status of the land and the doctors’ opposition when she lobbied council members in early December. I fear she did not. My previous two stories to Rye News were submitted as Opinion pieces. This piece was a news story because I attended the Planning Committee. It is a fair and balanced article. Regarding the people who signed the support petition, none of them was informed by the petition document that the Rye GPs opposed the project, nor that the development site was inside the AONB. A simple glance at the ‘Block Plan’ map shows how far the nursing home protrudes outside of the development boundary and into the AONB. I firmly believe a nursing home is needed in Rye, but that this site was entirely inappropriate. I understand that weekly fees at the nursing home will probably be in the £1,200+ range. The much vaunted ‘Interactive Care Village’ concept is dead in the water without the active support of the doctors, who are already overworked and who currently attend to the care needs of the 19 patients in Memorial Hospital itself. The hospital has confirmed to me that it will be charging “ground rent” to Greensleeves, in a similar way that the operator of St Bartholemew’s Court pays ground rent to the hospital.


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