FUNDRAISERS say they have been left “appalled” and “heartbroken” after hospice bosses were given permission to bulldoze Clacton’s purpose-built day centre.

Tendring Council planners have approved plans to demolish St Helena Hospice’s Tendring day centre, in Jackson Road, and replace it with 40 flats and a restaurant or shop.

The purpose-built centre, used for therapy for patients nearing the end of their lives and bereavement support, was funded by £275,000 of charitable donations.

Nicky Freeman, spokeswoman for the Clacton Carnival, said the carnival raised £22,500 towards the building.

She said: “The carnival committee and the local hospice fundraisers are devastated, as are all the people who supported the hospice financially since 2000.

“At the time we were told it was desperately needed and we all rallied round to get the money together and now it’s just going to be pulled down.

“It breaks my heart to see it demolished. I think its appalling.”

The hospice said the building is too big for its needs and it is expensive to maintain. It said the sale could release funds to protect core services.

It added while planning permission has been granted for the development, it is exploring its options.

In the meantime, it said all its services will continue to run at the centre until the charity’s trustees made a decision.

The hospice added it will continue to run its services in Tendring regardless of what happens to the building.

Hospice chief executive Mark Jarman-Howe said: “This is a challenging time for hospices and care providers.

“St Helena is facing growing demand for its care and support, the fundraising environment is more competitive than ever and there is uncertainty over future NHS and social care funding.

“The proposal to redevelop the site of the Tendring Centre has not been easy.

“We recognise just how much the building has meant to patients and families, staff, volunteers and supporters over the years, and understand there will be a lot of sadness over this.

“We are currently considering all the options regarding the closure and sale of the Tendring Centre and ultimately will make a decision based on what is best for our patients and their families and St Helena as an organisation.

“Until we have made a decision, all our services will continue to run as normal and our patients will remain unaffected and going forwards they will continue to run across Tendring with the aim to reach more people in need of our care and support.”