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Hospital plans calm relocation fears

PUBLISHED: 09:00 18 September 2009 | UPDATED: 08:32 01 August 2010

Beccles Hospital is in line for a boost to its facilities to help it cope with increasing numbers of patients.

And the fact that health chiefs have submitted a planning application to extend and improve some treatment areas has calmed fears that the hospital could be in danger of being relocated.

Beccles Hospital is in line for a boost to its facilities to help it cope with increasing numbers of patients.

And the fact that health chiefs have submitted a planning application to extend and improve some treatment areas has calmed fears that the hospital could be in danger of being relocated.

Health bosses at NHS Great Yarmouth & Waveney revealed last year that the hospital was in line for a major £20m development, but said one of the options involved moving to a new site, a possibility which provoked an angry reaction from some local people.

Now the health authority has submitted a planning application to build three single-storey extensions and to create a 19-space car park at the hospital's existing site on St Mary's Road.

The health body says it is a step towards coping with well-used areas which exist because of increased patient numbers.

The extensions would house two consulting rooms and an examination room in the outpatients department and a new palliative care suite to Ashford and Livingstone wards. The suite would include a consulting room, a quiet room, a social/dining area and an office.

The application states: “These are relatively small areas of development in comparison with the size of the existing hospital building, but they will assist in dealing with increased patient numbers.”

It adds that the car park that would be created on what is currently a grassed area at the rear of the hospital would help alleviate congestion and provide disabled parking for the new palliative care suite.

Chris Scott, a member of the Friends of Beccles Hospital, said he felt the planning application signified an end to the speculation that the hospital could be relocated.

“That's how I read it,” he said. “I don't think they would go and spend that type of money if they were going to move it.

“I think people will be pleased because there have been rumours floating about that it might close and I think this makes it more a sign that it is not going to close.”

He added that the fact that it was a war memorial hospital, which was opened in 1924, meant local people felt an extra strong link to the existing site.

“It's very important for the local community,” he said. “It's a lovely little hospital - the way the staff and everyone are - they give such personal treatment. It's so different to the big major hospitals.”

Beccles Town Council's planning committee voted to recommend approval of the extension at a meeting on Tuesday.

The application will be decided by Waveney District Council.

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