PROPOSALS to create a helipad for use by Basildon Hospital on unused land at Basildon Golf Course have been given the go-ahead.
Basildon Council’s planning committee approved an application for a new Essex & Herts Air Ambulance landing base during a meeting on Tuesday 29 August.
It will replace the existing informal helipad at the South Essex College site which will no longer be available after October 2017 due to the campus relocating to Basildon town centre.
The land, which is designated green belt and open space, is owned by Basildon Council. It is not currently in use as part of the golf course.
Cllr Adele Brown, Chairman of Basildon Council’s planning committee, said: “Some members had concerns about ambulances turning right out of the site to avoid the Five Bells roundabout when transferring patients to hospital, but ultimately they all agreed that this helipad is a vital facility for our borough.
“The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance advised that Basildon Hospital is the second busiest hospital they currently serve as it contains the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre, so the loss of a landing area could have resulted in patients not receiving the care they need at the earliest opportunity.
“The current helipad at the college is used about twice a week, but it is hoped having a base closer to the hospital will result in greater use.”
The application was granted approval on the condition that permission is limited to a period of five years to ensure it does not prejudice future proposals that may be identified in the Local Plan. This will allow sufficient time for a location for a permanent helipad to be found.