Statement | Thursday, 14 March 2019
Today, a team from St Luke’s Hospice travelled to Brent Council offices to meet with Ms. Carolyn Downs, chief executive of Brent Council and other representatives involved in the proposal for a housing development just 5m from St Luke’s Hospice boundary. At the meeting, Ms. Alpana Malde, chief executive of St Luke’s Hospice, explicitly emphasised the Hospice’s clear and unwavering objection to such a major development so close to existing patient rooms.
She further stated that nearby Hospice bed closures had led to an increased demand for services from St Luke’s Hospice and that any construction so close to the Hospice boundary would inevitably lead to a further reduction in our ability to respond to the need of this vulnerable group of people. This would mean fewer people at the end of their life having access to high quality hospice care and may mean more people being unnecessarily admitted to hospital.
Ms Downs expressed regret that our earlier objections were not met with more helpful dialogue from the council and that they had neglected to tell us the true size of the proposed development which is for 16 units, and not 11 as we were mistakenly told. St Luke’s Hospice unequivocally stated that so far, the council had appeared to only focus on planning law, and appealed to the council to take into account the wider impact to people at the end of their life, which they said that they were now keen to do.
Brent Council acknowledged the level of public support for St Luke’s Hospice and its work within the region. Given this, they will now go back to the architects to review the plans, aiming to communicate with St Luke’s Hospice about possible new plans by the end of March. No promises of the withdrawal of the scheme were made and the need for additional housing was still an obvious concern for the council. However, there was a clear intention to revisit their plans and we are optimistic that a mutually agreeable way forward could be possible.
While Brent Council are reconsidering the scheme, St Luke’s Hospice continues to urge supporters to sign and share the petition opposing the plans, which has now reached 5,215 signatures.