Hunters and Woking & Sam Beare Hospices win planning consent for conversion in Woking
Potentially a first for the UK, a derelict two-storey 1980s office block in Woking is to be converted into a new hospice for Woking & Sam Beare Hospices (WSBH).
The building will house leading-edge facilities in a warm and welcoming environment. To help change the commonly-held perceptions of hospices being clinical and uninviting, it will also have a café to which members of the public will be encouraged to join staff and volunteers.
We think it may be a first in the country to convert an office into a hospice
The hospice will be a modern centre of excellence in palliative care with a 20-bed inpatient facility, a day care unit designed to cater for outpatient visits, a complementary therapies area, and space for physio and occupational therapies and wellness activities.
Also based at the new building will be a hospice community team of clinical nurse specialists and the teams managing education, bereavement counselling and spiritual care.
Tim Ashton, director at architects, Hunters, welcomed the recent decision of Woking Borough Council’s planning committee to grant planning permission for the development.
He said: “We think it may be a first in the country to convert an office into a hospice. We are proud to be part of the team leading this blueprint for future hospice design. Now, with planning consent, we can help deliver an effective hospice with Woking & Sam Beare Hospices with a greener, sustainable solution."
In November 2013, WSBH received a loan facility of up to £6m from Woking Borough Council, which went some way to enabling it to develop a long-term, sustainable presence in the local community. Using the facility, WSBH acquired the freehold of a former office building in Denton Way and with Hunters was able to prepare imaginative plans to convert it into a state-of-the-art hospice which, following public consultation, have now been approved.
We believe the hospice environment is key to feeling well and I’m confident we will create an amazing environment that will benefit all our users
Keen to progress, WSBH has already shortlisted contractors for the refurbishment project and has sought tenders. It expects to announce its chosen contractor shortly.
WSBH chief executive, Nigel Harding, said: “We submitted exciting and innovative proposals for the new hospice and are delighted they have been supported by the planning committee.
“We believe the hospice environment is key to feeling well and I’m confident we will create an amazing environment that will benefit all our users. Hospices are not just for the last days of life, but are also for carers and for those on a curative pathway after their treatments.
“This will be a state-of-the-art facility for the residents of Woking and the communities in North West Surrey and one I know they will be incredibly proud of.”