From Disused Office to New Hospice

Posted by on February 12, 2015

Potentially a first for the UK, a derelict two-storey 80s office block has won planning to be converted into a new hospice.

The hospice for Woking and Sam Beare Hospices (WSBH) will be a modern centre of excellence in palliative care with a 20-bed in-patient facility, a Day Care unit designed to cater for daily outpatient visits which include medical assessments and treatments, complementary therapies, 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.
The hospice 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 visit joining staff and volunteers.

Tim Ashton, Director at Hunters, welcomed the decision of Woking Borough Council’s Planning Committee to grant planning permission for the development of its new hospice.

He commented: “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 and Sam Beare Hospices with a greener, sustainable solution."

In November 2013, WSBH received a loan facility of up to £6 million from Woking Borough Council which went some way to enabling WSBH to develop a longterm, sustainable presence in the local community. Using the facility, WSBH acquired the freehold of a former office building in Denton Way and with Hunters were able to prepare imaginative plans to convert it into a state-of-the-art hospice which, following public consultation, have now been approved.

Keen to progress, WSBH have shortlisted contractors for the refurbishment project and have sought tenders. They expect to announce their chosen contractor shortly.

WSBH Chief Executive Nigel Harding said: “We submitted exciting and innovative proposals for the new hospice and we 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 which 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.”