POLITICIANS this week slammed the choice of a green belt site for Thurrock’s first hospice, alongside 50 new homes.

Following the decision at a recent Thurrock Council planning committee meeting, developer Countryside will build 50 homes and the six-bed St Luke’s Hospice on green belt land at Little Malgraves Farm, off Lower Dunton Road.

Orsett Tory councillor Sue Little said: “I am not at all against hospices, Thurrock really needs one – my concern is that if we have a hospice, it should be in the middle of Thurrock.

“This Horndon site is absolutely ludicrous, there’s no access if someone is dying at 3am. I’m going to be calling for a public inquiry and will to be writing to the Secretary of State and our MP about this.”

The leader of the Conservative group on the council, Rob Gledhill, said: “If a member of your family is passing away, the last thing you want is to have to drive all the way across Thurrock.”

East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe said he would be raising the issue with the Secretary of State. He said: “What I am concerned about is if we are undermining our own protection of the green belt. Have we stuck to the guidelines?

“I want to make sure residents’ views are represented as it does strike me that when it comes to planning issues, residents’ views are not listened to enough.”

Ex-council leader and former mayor Anne Cheale blasted the decision. She said: “The reasons I’m against it are obvious – inaccessibility and lack of infrastructure.”

Mrs Cheale employed an architect, Daniel Weaver, to conduct a survey of the area to see if it was suitable. His report concluded: “The development would do substantial harm to the green belt and it would set a precedent.”

Mrs Little added: “Councillor Terry Hipsey (Labour) misled the members when he said it would be two-faced for them to vote against something they had already voted for three times.

“Members had only voted for a hospice in Thurrock before in principle, and never before for a specific site.”