Vision unveiled for new £10m children’s hospice in Norfolk
06:30 04 January 2014
A charity has unveiled plans for a purpose-built children’s hospice near Norwich.
Officials from East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) are hoping to launch a fundraising campaign by the autumn, if they can achieve planning permission for a greenfield site at Framingham Earl.
Proposals for the new building, which would cost around £10m, signals the end of the charity’s Quidenham hospice, near Attleborough, which has been caring for children and young people with life-threatening conditions and their families for more than 20 years.
The charity will be staging a consultation event with residents on Monday to share their proposals for a five acre field on the corner of Pigot Lane and Long Road, Framingham Earl, and to gauge local people’s views.
Bosses from EACH said the listed hospice in the grounds of the Carmelite Monastery at Quidenham, which has 47 staff, was becoming no longer fit for purpose and there was no scope to expand.
Plans have been drawn up by Suffolk-based architects, Barefoot and Gilles, for a replacement hospice at Framingham, which would have greater capacity and more modern facilities. The architects firm designed the charity’s £3m Ipswich hospice, which was opened by the Duchess of Cambridge in March 2012.
EACH has a legal agreement in place with the option of buying the land and have had meetings with councillors from parish councils in Poringland, Framingham Pigot and Framingham Earl. They have also met with some families who use their Quidenham hospice.
Graham Butland, EACH chief executive, said the reaction had so far been positive and they wanted to consult with local residents before submitting a planning application to South Norfolk Council at the end of January. He added that they hoped to start a fundraising appeal later in the year, if they secure planning permission.
“We still deliver good quality care [at Quidenham]. Parents have seen what we offer in Ipswich and are saying ‘what about Norfolk?’ We do not have a hydrotherapy pool at Quidenham, which is a must in a children’s hospice for children that really benefit from splashing around. We have not really got a music room at Quidenham and the sensory room is very small. It is a listed building and it was not designed as a hospice and it is quite remote. We need a modern building for the 21st century,” he said.
Mr Butland said the proposed new children’s hospice was much closer to Norfolk’s hospitals and had better road links than the Quidenham site. He added that nuns at the monastery, who are their landlords at Quidenham, had been informed on the plans.
The proposals for Framingham Earl include a hospice with better accessibility, a hydrotherapy pool, more family accommodation and dedicated play and music therapy areas.
“We want to make sure that local residents know about it first before they see a notice pinned on a lamp post. When we started the Ipswich one, local residents thought a children’s hospice was like a general hospital with flashing blue lights 24 hours a day. It is completely different and it is a home from home,” said Mr Butland.
The Quidenham site will continue to be run until a new hospice is built.
The EACH consultation event will run between 11am and 6pm on Monday at Poringland Community Centre, in Overtons Way.