Plans for multi-million pound hospice met with unanimous approval
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A vision for a new multi-million pound hospice close to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has taken a step closer to becoming a reality.
Plans for a new end of life care facility in Colney Lane to replace the Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich have been given the unanimous approval of South Norfolk's planning committee.
The proposed development, which will have 24 in-patient beds available, will sit on land next to the NNUH.
The proposal has received outline planning permission meaning it is now all systems go for a fundraising campaign to finance it.
It is believed the project is likely to cost in the region of £12.5m, according to documents from the hospice charity.
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Anna Dugdale, one of the trustees, said the decision was 'fantastic news'.
She said: 'To receive the committee's unanimous support is fantastic and it is just such a relief to have the approval.'
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The Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich and chairman of the Priscilla Bacon Hospice said: 'We are delighted. Norfolk is in great need of increased specialist palliative care services and bets and the creation of the new hospice will undoubtedly benefit the whole county. 'We look forward to working with all our partners to bring this new facility to life and will be launching our public campaign in the new year.'
Ahead of the decision, concerns were raised around whether the site would be the most appropriate for the hospice.
Trevor Wang, of Cringleford Parish Council, said: 'While Priscilla Bacon did convince us a new site is needed, we did not feel this site would be the most appropriate.'
Prof Wang said he felt greater peace and tranquillity for patients would be achieved were the proposed hospital moved further away from the bypass - on land west of the hospital.
Committee members, however, felt the benefits of the proposed location - including its close proximity to services at the hospital - meant it was an appropriate location.
Murray Gray, one of the members, said: 'Because of the public interest in a new facility being found I support the proposals.'
With outline permission granted, the charity will now launch a fundraising campaign to finance the scheme.
Once this is achieved and reserved matters determined, the new hospice will replace the existing site on Unthank Road in Norwich.
This would allow the charity to increase the number of in-patients it can care for by 50pc, with 24 beds rather than 18.