Hospital's anger at nursery blow

By Dave GooderhamA NHS trust is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the Government for the first time in its 11-year history after a plan for a children's nursery was turned down.

By Dave Gooderham

A NHS trust is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the Government for the first time in its 11-year history after a plan for a children's nursery was turned down.

The fight will be taken to the Government after West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust announced its intention to appeal against St Edmundsbury Borough Council's decision to refuse permission for a £170,000 crèche.

The nursery, planned for West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, was seen as a lure to recruit and retain more staff within the trust.


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But the council has turned down the application, first muted five years ago, citing a bad design and poor parking.

The trust's facilities director, Steve Moore, said: “We are bitterly disappointed. I thought we had done everything that had been asked of us in this proposal, but the councillors seemed unaware of it and would not take any notice of their officer when he tried to put them right.

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“We are very grateful to the members of the committee who supported us, but as for the others, they seem to have lost all sense of reason.”

Hospital bosses said the plan for the 96-place nursery, designed for the young children of hospital staff, had been backed by 250 letters of support and had received no objections from people living close to the hospital.

Referring to councillors' concerns, Mr Moore added: “There will be no impact on car parking as the nursery will be used by members of staff who are already parking on the site because they work there.

“The council's recent decision to impose costly pay-and-display charges on the Hardwick Heath car park next to the hospital and to put double yellow lines in Barons Road will have far more impact on pressure on car parking here.

“The design is fit for purpose and has been used in many other hospitals in the country. The building will be timber-clad and will have little visual impact.”

He added: “The whole emphasis is on making it easier for people to work in the NHS and child care provision is seen as a key element to attract and retain members of staff.

“Everyone is in favour of this nursery, except those members of the planning committee. It beggars belief.”

dave.gooderham@eadt.co.uk

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