FRESH plans have been submitted for a new £2.6 million neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital.

Bosses hope this time they will get past Cheshire West and Chester Council's planning committee after the original application was rejected last month.

Chester and District Standard:

An artist's impression of the new neonatal unit.

The vote went down to the wire with chairman Cllr Gill Watson having to cast the deciding vote.

It came after a resident of Bache Hall Estate claimed the new unit at the rear of the current women’s and children’s building would block sunlight to her back garden.

This would turn it into an “overshadowed, dank space” where she and her dogs “would not be able to enjoy the heat of the sun”, she said.

Lesley Woodhead, head of fundraising at the hospital, told The Standard the revised plans would see the unit brought almost a metre back from the woman’s garden.

She said: “We have tried to address the concerns from the previous application by softening the appearance of the unit with an alternative brick and landscaping, sliding the unit 800mm away from the boundary fence and improved visuals without altering the required layout of the unit.”

Chester and District Standard:

The revised plans have been submitted to the council.

The existing neonatal unit was built in 1974 and is said to have become out-dated.

The new building would not only be packed with life-saving technology, it would also focus on providing space, privacy and as much comfort as possible for babies and their families.

Three possible sites were identified for the new unit, but bosses at the hospital said only the one that linked directly to the current maternity unit was workable.

The total cost of the proposed new unit is £2.6 million. Of this, £1.8 million would be gifted by the Countess charity to the NHS trust that runs the hospital with the remaining £600,000 having been spent on running the appeal and its associated costs.

The money was raised through the Babygrow Appeal over around five years. Major events in the city that have helped raise cash for the new unit include the Santa Dash, Duck Race, and MBNA Chester Marathon.

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