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M&S, Costa and WHSmith to open at hospital – but volunteer shop must move

PUBLISHED: 11:20 08 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:53 08 April 2019

An artist's impression of what Colchester Hospital could look like after its multi-million pound revamp Picture: BOWMAN RILEY

An artist's impression of what Colchester Hospital could look like after its multi-million pound revamp Picture: BOWMAN RILEY

BOWMAN RILEY

High street names are setting up shop at Colchester Hospital as part of its multi-million pound revamp - but a volunteer-run shop will have to move as a result.

Nick Hulme said the League of Friends shop will move as part of the Colchester Hospital revamp Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNNick Hulme said the League of Friends shop will move as part of the Colchester Hospital revamp Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

M&S Food to Go, WHSmith, Costa Coffee and Stock Shop are to open at the Turner Road site by the end of the year.

It is currently undergoing a huge transformation, and hospital chiefs hope the new shops will meet growing demand and offer more choice to patients.

However, the volunteer-run League of Friends shop will move as part of the renovation - although the hospital says there is “no question of us not wanting them to continue to have a strong presence in the hospital”.

“The experience of coming to hospital can be a tough and anxious time for our patients and visitors,” said Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals.

“Our existing facilities are not able to meet the demand of the increasing population we serve at the moment, but we hope the arrival of new retailers offering more choice and space will be of benefit to all.”

Mr Hulme said the layout of the main entrance needs to change – which means the current League of Friends shop has to be moved.

The extension of the building will take the form of two blocks.

The first is single-storey, and aims to provide additional space for A&E – which will soon include an urgent treatment centre.

The second is a larger, two-storey block, which forms the new entrance.

“It will provide a non-clinical hospital space on the first floor, with new visitor facilities and the convenience/retail outlets on the ground floor.

“We have a long and happy relationship with the League of Friends at Colchester Hospital who have for the past 60 years supported patients, their families and staff at the hospital with their generosity and time,” said Mr Hulme.

“There is absolutely no question of us not wanting them to continue to have a strong presence in the hospital.

He added: “We are currently in discussions with them and exploring a range of alternative options across the hospital site to which we may be able to relocate their services.”

Representatives for the group were asked to comment.

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