MARIE Curie has launched a campaign, urging Solihull people to get behind plans for a new hospice.
Last Friday, volunteers, patients and hospice workers took to Solihull High Street - asking shoppers to sign their petition.
The planning application, submitted last month, has worried many residents. They claim that a Green Belt site in Marsh Lane is the wrong place for the development.
Hundreds of protesters have already voiced concerns, but last week the charity mobilised its supporters.
Liz Cottier, hospice manager, said that the move to a new, custom-built premise was hugely important.
“I can understand why people are worried but we have spent eight years looking for a site and this is the only one that matches our criteria,” she explained.
“To build on Green Built land we have to prove special circumstances. Anyone who submits an application in future will still have to meet those conditions, so I don’t think we’re setting a precedent.”
At present, Marie Curie occupies a building in Warwick Road - just around the corner from Marsh Lane. However, the site is over a century old and according to Mrs Cottier has “reached the end of its life”.
Jane Strugnell, a hospice volunteer, was also collecting signatures. She has personal experience of the hospice’s work.
“Both my parents were cared for at the existing hospice and I can’t speak highly enough of the service.
“I think it’s very important that the new development goes ahead. There will be more beds at the new building and these services need to be available to local people.”
Volunteers will be returning to the town centre over the coming weeks. Copies of the petition are also available at Marie Curie shops and online at www.mariecurie.org.uk/newhospice.