Hospice scrapped after 'sobbing' fears

AN idea to build a new children's hospice has been shelved after residents raised concerns over the effect of 'sobbing' and their 'distressed parents'.

AN idea to build a new children's hospice has been shelved after residents raised concerns over the effect of “sobbing children” and their “distressed parents”.

A planning application submitted to Suffolk Coastal District Council featured an eight-bed hospice, which would have replaced the East Anglian Children's Hospice (EACH) in Pearson Road, Ipswich.

However, scores of angry residents complained to the council and contacted The Evening Star, claiming the creation of a hospice would be “insensitive” to residents and was inappropriate.

One homeowner said: “What are the social implications of distressed parents and the children themselves, when they can see and hear myself and my family enjoying our garden, playing football and using the swing set?

“And when my family hear sobbing from the hospice, what do you think would be the implications on them enjoying their garden?

“It would not be right in any sense to build something so sensitive so close to people's homes, when other much more appropriate locations could be found.”

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The Rev Chris Nunn, of All Saints Church, Kesgrave, said she could not believe the comments.

She said: “How ridiculous! It's crazy. I can't believe anyone would say that - it is so insensitive.

“I think it would be a good thing for Kesgrave. I find it an incredible and very selfish attitude.”

The hospice has now been withdrawn from the planning application, made by developer Kesgrave Covenant Ltd, for land at the back of Terry Gardens. An application for business units, housing and a shop still remains and will go before councillors later this month.

Other concerns raised by residents included problems with light pollution, the constant stream of visitors, deliveries and noise pollution from air conditioning units and emergency vehicles.

There were also fears that the development as a whole would spell the end for the woodland area.

Graham Butland, chief executive of EACH, said: “I can't believe that some of these comments would be made by people who had visited a children's hospice and who know what they are about.

“I would be very happy to invite them to visit our hospices at any time to help them get a better understanding of what a children's hospice is about - irrespective of this application.

“They clearly have a view of children's hospice's which is not in line with reality.”

Barbara Gelb, chief executive of the Association of Children's Hospices, said: “The Association of Children's Hospices commissioned research last year that showed how frightened the public are of childhood death - it is, understandably, the ultimate taboo.

“But what a shame that people are frightened about the prospect of a children's hospice on their doorstep.

“What we know is that children's hospices are really positive places, giving children the opportunity to live life to the full, and enabling families to have a break from the physical and emotional strains of looking after their child.”

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