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Charity plans £22m centre of excellence for disabled in Leatherhead
A charity wants to build a £22m centre of excellence for disabled and disadvantaged people.
Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) is applying for planning permission to redevelop its greenbelt site in Woodlands Road, Leatherhead.
It plans to create a modern campus with learning, sport and leisure facilities, accommodation for 48 trainees and a "charitable hub".
The home of QEF in Woodlands Road, Leatherhead
Plans submitted to Mole Valley District Council also include the construction of 76 homes in order to help to fund the redevelopment.
QEF’s CEO Jonathan Powell said: "Our vision is of a centre of excellence that is a destination of choice for disabled, vulnerable and disadvantaged people, and organisations that provide services for them.
"We’ve got old buildings here that are sitting empty and it makes sense to start again rather than pour money into refurbishing them.
An artist's impression of the plans
"It’s clearly in the public interest to improve what we can do here to offer services to some of the most vulnerable people in society and by funding modernisation by releasing land for new homes in the area, which will not take up a larger footprint than the existing buildings to be demolished, means that it’s a win-win situation all round."
The first phase of the development would include an initial accommodation block and industrial training space costing around £7.8 million and funded from cash reserves.
Further development, including the creation of charity hub facilities, would be funded by the sale of land for private housing development.
A spokesman said: "This application is for redevelopment on a previously developed area of the QEF site and is in accordance with normal greenbelt policy.
Business skills training at QEF
"On the area to be developed there are currently located two accommodation blocks for disabled trainees, several houses, and training areas for office and trade skills. The redevelopment will modernise the facilities on our site."
See the plans, with reference MO/2014/0322, at www.molevalley.gov.uk.
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