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Review into Wiveliscombe rehab hospital 'a waste of money'
9:30am Tuesday 25th February 2014 in News
A JUDICIAL review into the decision to give a controversial rehabilitation hospital the go-ahead would be a “waste of taxpayers’ money,” the town council has said.
Council bosses want a review after Taunton Deane’s planning committee granted permission for the hospital on the outskirts of Wiveliscombe but, after starting the process, found it would be too expensive.
However, they are aware somebody else has taken the planning documents to the High Court to challenge the decision.
Chairman Bryn Wilson said: “We do not want to go down the review or ombudsman route any more as it would be expensive. You are looking at £20,000 in costs to the town council and probably the same for the Deane to challenge.
“Whoever loses would probably have to pay the others’ costs so, either way, it would be using ratepayers’ money.”
The town council has requested a meeting with Deane officials to discuss the matter after it claims approval was granted without the right consideration.
Mr Wilson added: “I’d rather talk through the matter with them to see what we can do rather than take it to the courts.
“If nothing is resolved, I think other people will take up the matter as there are a lot of people in Wiveliscombe unhappy with Taunton Deane.”
As previously reported by the County Gazette, the parish is unhappy plans to build a 28-bedroom locked rehabilitation unit and a 28-bedroom low secure hospital for female patients were given the thumbs-up, despite strong objections.
Last June, town councillors objected to the proposals at an extraordinary meeting which was attended by more than 100 people.
Prime concerns were over traffic, public safety, staffing and the lack of local jobs, with many feeling most of the 130 roles pledged by the developers will go to people living outside the town.
Despite this, Deane planners granted conditional approval in October.
A Taunton Deane Council spokesman said: “We have had a request for a meeting with Wiveliscombe Town Council representatives and arrangements are being made for this to take place with members of the borough council’s joint management team.
“The borough council is aware of the concerns raised and hopes the discussions will be of benefit to both councils.”