Any other commercial development

YOUR article in September's 10 edition regarding the planning approval for the Cygnet Psychiatric Hospital gives a good demonstration of how distant and out of touch our council's planning officers are.

YOUR article in September's 10 edition regarding the planning approval for the Cygnet Psychiatric Hospital gives a good demonstration of how distant and out of touch our council's planning officers are.

I'm sure that most people have at some point objected to a neighbour building an extension or making alterations to their property, but once again the planning officers can't seem to make a distinction between a major development that will impact a large number of people and approving someone's porch! They have dismissed objections from neighbours about noise, despite the environmental protection department being aware of numerous issues with the current operation.

Since the old Kewstoke Convalescent Home was converted into a Psychiatric hospital catering for both conventional psychiatric patients and those admitted from the criminal justice system, many residents have had to endure noise, foul language and verbal abuse from its patients both day and night.

There is a real lack of privacy to both neighbours and patients due to the hospital failing to comply with its submitted landscaping scheme, which should have shielded the hospital and neighbouring properties from view.

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Let's not forget that this is not an NHS hospital, it is run by a Private, for profit company, and as such should be treated in the same way as any other commercial development which wants to expand.

How can the council justify any development of this type when it is on land outside the Settlement Boundary as defined in GDP/1 of the Adopted Replacement Local Plan? Effectively a 'green belt' development.

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Also the parish council needs to be more forceful and technically adept when lodging objections, and consider the concerns of the residents when making that objection.

You reported on Cygnet's plans to convert the old lodge into a 'step-down' unit, which means more unaccompanied patients in the village, more noise and more traffic movements of both staff and visitors. But, consideration needs to be given to the plans for their 'planning approved' large 'underground' building to be built below the lodge development. This means that in the not too distant future, Kewstoke will have four psychiatric units housing some 95 patients in total, many of whom appear to have some criminal or violent background.

Cygnet has also identified two other areas on their site as suitable for further development, and there is an intention to add an additional storey to the 'old mortuary' building. Your article stated that Cygnet is reassuring the residents about the development.

I'd be interested to know quite how they are reassuring us, because their actions in dealing with issues tabled do not reflect this view. How do they actually intend to minimise disruption from construction traffic whilst the developments are in progress? They didn't do so when the main conversion was taking place, nor did the council take any action about noise, the burning of waste on site and traffic disruption. And let's not forget how we were all reassured way back in 2005 that no patient would be in the village unaccompanied, and to quote one of the directors "you won't even know we are here".

The planners and the parish council need to take a serious look at how this company intends to expand. It also needs to look at how the company and site are managed and operated, and how this impacts the village, its residents and its reputation.

Is it really good for the village, being a popular holiday destination, to have such as the recent patient/staff scandal at the hospital blasted all over the national and local press?


Kewstoke Road, Kewstoke

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