Council all-clear for £5m hospice rebuild

New chief executive of St Luke's hospice Peter Hartland
New chief executive of St Luke's hospice Peter Hartland

WORK on redeveloping St Luke’s Hospice is due to start next June after councillors granted planning permission this week.

The estimated cost of upgrading the complex, off Little Common Lane, Whirlow, is £5m.

“We have been speaking to individuals and organisations across the city and are confident that the generosity of the people of Sheffield will enable us to start work on this major new phase in our story very soon,” said chief executive Peter Hartland.

The refurbishment will create 14 single rooms with en-suite facilities and two triple-occupancy rooms.

“Single en-suite rooms give dignity and privacy for both patients and their families and they also help in areas such as infection control,” said Mr Hartland.

“What we want – and what this project will provide – are the very best facilities for both patient care and operational efficiency. We want to be able to offer an excellent environment to our patients and their families which matches the excellent care we provide.

“We are delighted that Sheffield Council has given us the approval we need to move forward and retain our position as a world leader in end of life care.”

Plans were approved, despite concerns from some neighbours, including Andre and Jill Spencer, of Petworth Drive.

Mr Spencer told councillors: “To us, one of the biggest problems is that the mortuary will be on the ground floor.

“The idea of bodies being brought out where our children might be able to look is upsetting for the psyche. The exit will be facing our property.”

Mr and Mrs Spencer asked for the exit to be moved or for the hours to be restricted to ensure bodies are moved ‘when the children aren’t around’.

Planning board member Coun Peter Price said: “I can’t see any planning reason for rejection and these types of places are common on council estates and in other parts of the city.

“As long as a vehicle can get close enough to the mortuary door, I can’t see a problem.”

Alex Pettifer, chairman of the hospice board of trustees, said: “Whatever it takes, we will work with residents to resolve their concerns.”