Erewash hospice Treetops plans to build grass-covered unit for people needing end-of-life care

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A hospice in Risley plans to build a new grass-covered unit for people needing end-of-life care.

The plans, put forward by Treetops Hospice in Derby Road, have been tipped for approval by Erewash Borough Council officers.

If approved at a meeting on Wednesday, November 21, a new 12-bed unit would be built on an existing car park at the hospice’s current site – within the green belt.

The modern unit has been designed to look as if the existing field was pulled up, over the top of the building, with timber and rock cladding.

A replacement 59-space car park would be built as part of the scheme.

As part of the new facility, there would also be a “multi-faith contemplation space” for use by patients and visitors, along with nursing support facilities, a lounge for residents and visitors, kitchen, office, counselling rooms and outside patios.

The applicants say that the unit would ease pressures on the area’s hospitals.

It wrote: “The proposed new building to accommodate 12 dedicated end of life beds and associated facilities at the Risley site would give a real choice to patients as to where they receive palliative care in a local community setting while contributing towards reducing the pressure of acute hospital admissions.

“Dying at home is not always possible due to people’s care needs or even everyone’s choice. Equally, some people do not feel comfortable going into a nursing home or hospital.

“Treetops Hospice Care mission is to make every day count for patients and families living with life-limiting illnesses or affected by death and dying.

“Their vision is that everyone living in the communities they serve has access to end of life care of the highest quality.”

Treetops Hospice, next to Risley Cricket Club and Risley Lower Grammar Primary School, provides respite and palliative care for people with life limiting illnesses such as cancer.

Its plans are up against concerns raised by Risley with Hopwell Parish Council.

It said: “Whilst the Parish Council fully supports the work and aspirations of Treetops, the proposal is excessive and overbearing, especially in the conservation area and Green Belt.

“It is believed that the proposed increase in car parking spaces is not going to be sufficient for the increase in number of staff.

“There will therefore be parking on the main Derby Road when the car park is full and this may cause problems, especially at the start and finish of the school day when parents collect children.

“The immediate area is prone to flooding and there has been major drainage problems over the last few years.”

No objections were sent in by either the county council regarding highways, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, or the borough council’s tree officer or environmental health officer.

Borough council planning officers say that despite being in the green belt and the related “substantial” impact, which would be a “detriment of the surrounding landscape character”, the application would be acceptable.

They wrote: “Notwithstanding this substantial impact, it is considered that in this case the very special circumstances adduced are sufficient to overcome not just the principle of harm from inappropriateness, but also the actual harm from the massing of development proposed.”

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service