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Monday, 07 March 2011 (3012773)
Hospital block plan reviewed
by David Simister

A PREVIOUSLY-blocked bid to extend a Halsall hospital will be considered by West Lancashire councillors at a meeting tomorrow night.

Members of the borough council's planning committee will reconsider plans to extend Renacres Hospital, on Renacres Lane, which would see the site gain a two-storey extensions to its neurological wing and outpatient departments among other improvements.

A design and access statement submitted in support of the hospital's extension says: “The proposals will provide hospital accommodation for long term patients with neurological illnesses. Such a facility in a rural location with public transport services will positively contribute to the no of job opportunities in the locality, something which is considered to be a significant benefit of the scheme.

”The report into the proposed extension has indicated that the development proposals represent a sustainable development scheme which effectively utilises a parcel of brownfield land, albeit within the green belt, while enhancing the private care facilities in the region.“

Members of the planning committee considered similar plans for an extension to the site at a meeting in February last year, but it despite it being recommended for approval they chose to refuse permission, citing concerns that the extension would constitute an inappropriate development within the West Lancashire green belt.

The new, revised application is also recommended for approval by the council's planning officers, although the plans for extension are for the same site, which is still within West Lancashire's green belt area.

In a report sent to planning committee member s ahead of tomorrow night's meeting, the council's planning team believe that the developers have tried to respond to concerns about the green belt by reducing the scale of the extension.

”This revised scheme has tried to address the concerns raised in the previous application with regard to the impact upon the Green Belt. This has been achieved by reducing the proposed floor space by some 800m², which has

resulted in the extensions being reduced in length by 12m on the southern projection and approximately 20m on the eastern projection,“ it reads.

”In addition, due to the confinement of the extensions within the existing hospital site, the extensions not exceeding the height of the existing buildings and the limited views into the site from the wider area, I consider that the proposed development would not have a detrimental impact upon the visual amenity of the Green belt.“

The extension is due to be discussed by the planning committee in Ormskirk from 7.30pm tomorrow night.


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