A NEW cancer centre and multi-storey car park is coming to the Royal Surrey County Hospital after councillors gave the nod this week.
Guildford Borough Council’s planning committee approved the plans which include the six-storey car park at a meeting on Wednesday (January 12).
The new unit will also have a dedicated parking area with 30 spaces and a landscaped sensory garden for use by staff and patients before the building’s entrance.
The centre will be operated by Genesis Care, a private sector provider of cancer treatments.
Vicky Mumford, the hospital’s assistant director of nursing, cancer, told the meeting that both the new car park and the new treatment centre were “paramount” in continuing to attract the best people to work at the hospital and offer the best treatment.
She said: “I’d like to touch on the importance of this partnership with Genesis Care.
“This is a wonderful, unique opportunity for us to partner with another organisation to provide both NHS and private healthcare with equipment that gives that opportunity for world-class outcomes.
“Cancer patients deserve the opportunity to have ease of access to their treatment. They deserve the best treatment.”
The borough council had received 159 letters of support of the application and 33 letters of objection.
Speaking on behalf of Manor Park residents, Flora Curtis said residents did not object to plans for a new cancer centre, or disagree that the hospital needed a better long-term parking solution, but were concerned about the lack of information in the application for the car park, which will be between 15m and 18m in height.
She described the plans as large “ugly blocks” which would be visible from the A3.
She said: “No document has been provided to officers showing, for example, a cross section of a car park and its impact on Manor Park in terms of overshadowing.
“There’s no assessment of the impact of headlights from cars using the multi story car park which is proposed to operate 24 hours a day.
“This is staggering for development of this scale and the officers’ report doesn’t deal with all of these issues.”
Ray Rogers, a hospital governor, said he had spoken to hundreds of patients over the years and the big negative at the hospital was always parking.
He said: “It always boils to the surface. It is the big spoiler.
“Arguing for parking is never easy, but this application is not for shopping, for a supermarket or a sports centre.
“It’s for a hospital where vulnerable, highly stressed people have to drive round and round, worrying about missing appointments often with a sick child, spouse or elderly parents at their side.
“Patients need better, staff deserve better too.”
Officers pointed out that the hospital will be required to submit a new travel master plan which should look at issues such as electric charging points and cycle provision.
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