PLANS for a new baby unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital have been recommended for approval at a crunch meeting tonight.

This is despite several objections from neighbours, including one who said the hospital has invaded their privacy for more than 20 years.

The Countess fundraising team has spent the past three years raising £2.4 million to fund the new neonatal facility.

The money will pay for a new single-storey extended unit that, once complete, will be more than twice the size of the current one.

Subject to approval by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee this evening (Tuesday, October 9), it is hoped that it will open in September next year.

The existing neonatal unit was built in 1974 and its design has become out-dated.

The new building will not only be packed with state-of-the-art, life-saving technology, it will also focus on providing space, privacy and as much comfort as possible for the tots and their families.

It is also said to be the first unit in the country to be designed with “family integrated care”.

However, not everyone is excited about the plans. Several residents of nearby Bache Hall Estate have written letters of objection to the council.

One wrote: “I object to this proposed extension. We are directly next to this building. Over the last 20+years we have had all our privacy invaded by this hospital. There was a lovely green landed area which afforded us a little distance from traffic but this was taken away by the hospital.

“Also some large conifer trees which afforded us some privacy from patients peering through windows were chopped down without having the manners to at least inform us and now they want to further encroach by building yet another extension. No. We bought our property and we feel yet further development on this part of the health park will have a significant and detrimental effect on our property.”

And a second complainant wrote: “I purchased this property, due to the quiet and private location. I was only informed of this proposed application by chance, otherwise I would not have known until too late.

“Building on the proposed site, would not only infringe upon my privacy reducing it by enclosing me in what would be busy hospital buildings, but would also reduce the amount of light on my property, making it darker at all hours.

“I feel that if this proposal goes ahead, not only will it be detrimental to the well-being and lifestyle of the residents, but also greatly reduce the value of residents’ properties.”