THE inpatient capacity of Oakhaven Hospice looks set to be boosted with three extra bedrooms under plans agreed by New Forest District Council.
The scheme involves the addition of two en suite bedrooms at the Lower Pennington Lane facility and the conversion of a former office and storage area to create a third.
It was described by NFDC planning officer Stephen Belli as a “modest and appropriate” addition to the existing facilities that would be screened by trees. Two small extensions
will be created by infilling the space between the main hospice building and a linked
chapel – increasing the footprint of the building by 14%.
The need for additional bedrooms was set out in the application which revealed: “The hospice continues to operate at capacity and there continues to be a large unmet demand for additional palliative care provision in the locality.
“The benefit which the proposal provides is to allow the hospice to cost-effectively expand and adapt and as such provide their valuable service to additional people from the local community.”
Pointing to Oakhaven’s location within the green belt, Mr Belli said that while there
was strong local and national guidance against new developments except in very
limited circumstances, proportionate additions to existing buildings could be permitted.
He continued: “The new extensions are discreetly located to the rear of the site and use materials and a design that match in with the contemporary styling of an earlier extension.”
Speaking at the time the application was registered, Oakhaven representative Melanie Stone said the charity was unlikely to move forward with implementing the plans in the immediate future “given the current financial instability the charity is facing”.