CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a £20 million state-of-the-art hospice for terminally-ill patients on a green-belt site in Solihull have been met with fierce opposition from a large number of residents.
Marie Curie Cancer Care charity wants to move from Warwick Road to a six-acre site in Marsh Lane with 109 car parking spaces if planning permission is granted by Solihull Council this year.
However, after two public consultations in March, a large group of residents in Marsh Lane and other roads close by have expressed concerns over the location of the hospice, which would be built on green belt land, with an entrance on a sharp bend, along with fears about increased traffic levels.
Annette Whibley, a committee member of the newly formed Marsh Lane Area Residents Group (MLARG), is calling on the charity to reconsider its plans.
She said: “We are not objecting to a new hospice in Solihull but we are objecting to the site Marie Curie has chosen.
“Marie Curie and hospices do wonderful work but what many residents are concerned about is the loss of the green belt land and whether this will set a planning precedent.
“We want Marie Curie to enter into a dialogue with us. Why aren’t they looking into other sites in Solihull for the hospice?”
Councillor Leela Widger (Liberal Democrat, Silhill), said: “I have offered to help with the residents and Marie Curie to resolve this issue for the benefit of all the parties.
“I want to ensure that the interests of all concerned are taken into account.”
Hospice manager Liz Cottier said: “We had a good turnout of residents at the public consultations and we showed them our proposals and asked about their concerns.
“We are aware that the majority of residents in Marsh Lane do have concerns and have worries about a possible increase in traffic.
“However, we hope to address any issues they have raised.”
A public meeting will be held on the issue next Thursday evening at the cricket club in Marsh Lane at 8pm.