A LANDOWNER says he offered Thurrock Council an alternative site for the borough’s first hospice, in the centre of Thurrock.

The news of his suggestion comes as campaigners against plans to build the hospice on green belt land at Malgraves Farm in Lower Dunton Road, Horndon-on-the-Hill, handed in a petition.

A public consultation by Thurrock Council identified Malgraves Farm as its preferred location for the new St Luke’s Hospice alongside 50 homes, to be built by Countryside.

But the plans for the site opposite Langdon Hills Golf Club, have been criticised by residents and Tory Councillor Sue Little for being out of keeping with the character of the village, having poor public transport links and being only two miles from the charity’s Basildon hospice.

Now landowner Tony Gothard, from Tilbury, has come forward to say he offered the council a site near Davy Down Park, North Stifford – between South Ockendon and Lakeside – three years ago.

Mr Gothard, 66, said: “Davy Down is only three-quarters of a mile from Lakeside down the A13 and there are two buses that go past it, but the Horndon site would be all back roads and no bus services.

“It’s also only two miles as the crow flies from the hospice’s Basildon site, so I don’t see the point of it.”

However, a council spokesman said the authority had not yet expressed a preference for the site He said: “Discussions have been held with this gentleman about this site, but have been via the pre-application advice service, which is confidential.

“The site is in green belt and the applicant needs to demonstrate very special circumstances.

“The council has not expressed any preference, at this time, for the location of this particular development.”