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Kenton hospice staff deliver petition signatures and emails to Brent Council calling a halt on development plans

PUBLISHED: 12:55 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:55 27 March 2019

Rachel Wagstaff of St Luke's Hospice handing over petitions and emails to James Kinsella, Brent's Director of Governance.

Rachel Wagstaff of St Luke's Hospice handing over petitions and emails to James Kinsella, Brent's Director of Governance.

Archant

Supporters of a vital Kenton hospice marched on Brent Civic Centre armed with 6,125 petition signatures and more than 30,000 emails demanding the withdrawal of development plans.

Rachel Wagstaff and Toby Ganguly of the threatened St Luke's Hospice with boxes of petitions and emails to hand to Brent CouncilRachel Wagstaff and Toby Ganguly of the threatened St Luke's Hospice with boxes of petitions and emails to hand to Brent Council

St Luke’s Hospice, in Kenton Grange, continues to urge Brent Council to drop plans to bulldoze the Clock Cottage next door and build a two-storey block in its place.

Armed with boxes of evidential public support, hospice staff asked the planning committee on Tuesday to rethink building 11 self-contained flats for people with learning difficulties five metres from the hospice boundary and 10 metres from patient bedrooms.

The building would overshadow a private garden used by patients and their families, will lead to what the hospice says is a huge loss of privacy for patients and their families, and the charity may be forced to close vital beds.

Naomi Angel, who along with her father Alan Glinert volunteers at the hospice, said: “My family is steeped in St Luke’s – my mother-in-law is a volunteer as well.

Alan Glinert and daughter Naomi Angel, volunteers at St Luke's Hospice, infront of the Clock House, earmarked to be developed into a blockAlan Glinert and daughter Naomi Angel, volunteers at St Luke's Hospice, infront of the Clock House, earmarked to be developed into a block

“My mum worked as a volunteer on reception for 15 years before she died here in 2012 and my grandmother also died at St Luke’s four years later.

“Having facilities here makes end of life more bearable.

“When you come here with a person you love you’re in a safe, tiny bubble. What is outside doesn’t exist.

“I didn’t have to worry about anything when my mum and grandmother died.

“They were totally looked after and so was I. That must not be compromised.”

She added: “We want the application for what’s being planned withdrawn. It’s insensitive.”

The campaign has also garnered support from Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North, who signed the petition on March 12 while on a visit to the hospice.

He said: “These are two very vulnerable groups of people who both need proper care and support. It is highly inappropriate for them to be placed so close to each other.”

Lord Dolar Popat, long standing patron of the charity, and the Trade Envoy to Rwanda and Uganda, has also called on the council to rethink its plans.

He said: “There is indeed a housing crisis but I am confident in the ability of the council to solve these challenges without depriving our entire community of the specialist care provided by St Luke’s Hospice. This care, given to patients and their families at such a critical time in their life, cannot be compromised in the name of housing development.”

Chief exec Alpana Malde said: “We strongly oppose any proposal which encroaches on our patient’s privacy and wellbeing.”

The charity also believed emails by members of the public to the planning committee had been blocked, hence printing out all emails on recycled paper and hand delivering them.

Cllr Eleanor Southwood, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform said: “We have met with the management team from St Luke’s Hospice to discuss their concerns. The petition will be taken into account as we move forward with discussions about how to make the best use of this council-owned site for much needed social housing.”

She added: “We are aware that there has been an IT issue which has meant some of the community emails to the planning committee were identified by our system as spam and so haven’t been getting through.

“We apologise if emails have not been delivered. We are resolving this.

“We look forward to continuing working with the team at St Luke’s Hospice.”

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