New cancer unit planned at hospital

PLANS to build a major new unit for cancer victims at one of the region's hospitals looks set to be given the go ahead.Health chiefs have applied to St Edmundsbury Borough Council for permission to build a new integrated cancer care unit at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

PLANS to build a major new unit for cancer victims at one of the region's hospitals looks set to be given the go ahead.

Health chiefs have applied to St Edmundsbury Borough Council for permission to build a new integrated cancer care unit at the West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

If given approval the new unit would compliment existing services at the hospital and provide extended facilities for those suffering with cancer.

The new unit would cater for both in and outpatients and provide additional health care facilities for cancer sufferers by allowing them to be treated close to their own homes rather than being forced to travel elsewhere.

Although the development would mean felling around 30 trees at the site, which are protected by a preservation order, St Edmundsbury planning officials are recommending the plan be approved due to the wider health care benefits it would provide.

The plan, submitted by the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust, would see a single storey extension on the western side of the hospital to provide the new integrated cancer care unit, which would be attached to the existing oncology unit.

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Concerns have been raised over parking on the site and some of the trees, which the plan shows will be retained, could also be lost due to the close proximity to the proposed construction work.

Despite these concerns St Edmundsbury planning officers are backing the plan. A report to go before the authority's development committee this week says: "The site of the extension is one of the few opportunities for development to adjoin the main hospital complex and it is important that the most efficient use is made of the land.

"The benefits for patient care and the improved medical facilities that would accrue from the development are acknowledged. These clear benefits to health care services offered on site need to be balanced against the tree loss that would occur to allow the extension to be situated in the proposed location adjacent to the present oncology unit."

Although some car parking spaces would be lost to the new unit, it would be replaced by extra spaces at the rear of the hospital. Part of the additional parking has already been provided and an area of woodland at the rear of the Drummond Centre is being cleared to increase parking spaces from 39 to 157.

Members of St Edmundsbury's development committee are being urged to approve the plans on the condition the development starts within five years, a scheme to control noise is implemented and additional parking is provided before the unit is opened.

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