Concern for flooding and loss of green space over council-approved hospice
PUBLISHED: 14:56 04 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:28 04 January 2020
Priscilla Bacon Hospice
A fundraising chief has promised that every penny raised towards a new £12.5m hospice will be spent wisely.
Mark Nicholas, chief executive officer of the Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal, is thrilled by the fundraising support so far for the new 24-bed end-of-life hospice which he hopes will open on agricultural land close to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in 2023.
The new facility will replace the 40-year-old Priscilla Bacon Lodge (PBL) on Unthank Road, Norwich, and since its launch in 2019 the appeal has raised just over £5m.
South Norfolk Council initially granted outline planning permission for the hospice in 2018 but an amended application was submitted, and approved, in December 2019 by the same authority after the building's proposed location was moved 150 metres north of the original site to remove flooding risks, according to Mr Nicholas.
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But Cringleford Parish Council, Hethersett Parish Council and a local ecologist have concerns over potential flood risk, the lack of peace and quiet for future hospice residents and loss of green space.
Writing on the South Norfolk Council website, Sonya Blythe, Cringleford Parish Council clerk, said: "The current proposed site is even more unsuitable since it does not meet one of PBL's own requirements for an end-of-life hospice. They clearly stated a need for peace and tranquillity. This cannot be afforded by any site close to the hospital."
Annette Palmer, Hethersett Parish Council clerk, said the hospice could set a precedent allowing development of vital green gaps.
Colney ecologist, Dr Graham Martin, said: "Almost everyone will support raising funds for a new hospice for the respected Priscilla Bacon Lodge. It would be a disaster if it was built in the wrong place. Unfortunately the site chosen adjacent to the NNUH has limitations relating to noise, water management, environment, access and traffic management that remain inadequately addressed."
Mr Nicholas said: "We don't want to put a hospice on a piece of land likely to flood. We are building the hospice with public money meaning every penny must be spent wisely. We went through the proper process and South Norfolk Council made the ultimate decision."
To donate visit www.priscillabaconhospice.org.uk.