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Hotel for disabled in Princess Diana’s Norfolk birthplace to close

PUBLISHED: 10:34 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 10:54 05 November 2020

Park House Hotel at Sandringham  Picture: Archant

Park House Hotel at Sandringham Picture: Archant

Archant

A charity which ran a hotel for the disabled in the childhood home of Princess Diana is giving up the building.

Diana, Princess of Wales, was orn at Park House at Sandringham. She died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997  Picture: PADiana, Princess of Wales, was orn at Park House at Sandringham. She died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997 Picture: PA

The Leonard Cheshire Foundation has run Park House, at Sandringham, since 1987.

It closed the facility last September and made its 70 staff redundant, after announcing it was set to extend the building to increase the number of bedrooms.

Today the charity said it was discontinuing the project and working with the Royal estate to exit from its lease.

“Since the original plan of September 2019 detailing an agreement to spend £2.3m redeveloping Park House - and match fund the same amount for further investment - cash resources and fund raising have understandably been shifted in response to the pandemic,” it said. “Costs associated with the project have also risen significantly.

Park House was opened by the Queen in 1987   Picture: Ian BurtPark House was opened by the Queen in 1987 Picture: Ian Burt

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“The current fund raising environment is hugely challenging and the costs to undertake the planned project have escalated well beyond the original estimates. The expenditure would be difficult both in terms of affordability and being the right thing to do for our beneficiaries.

“We therefore cannot justify that outlay considering the current barriers that disabled people face across the world and coupled with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and the impact to our work, it’s been proposed to discontinue the redevelopment and work with Sandringham Estate to exit the lease.”The charity said it would be contacting regular guests personally to inform them of the move.

It added; “Our current focus remains the provision of our care and support services, the people who live with us and those who benefit from our programmes across the world. During these unprecedented times, this is more important than ever.”

Princess Diana's first birthday, Park House. Picture: PAPrincess Diana's first birthday, Park House. Picture: PA

Diana, Princess of Wales was born at Park House on July 1, 1961. She spent her early childhood on the Royal Estate.

The Leonard Cheshire Foundation was launched after the Second World War by Group Capt Leonard Cheshire VC, commander of the 617 Dambusters Squadron.

In 1948 he began nursing a dying man who had nowhere else to go at his home in Hampshire. By the summer of 1949, his home had 24 residents with complex needs, illnesses and impairments. The charity and its work grew from there.


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