Hospital agreement would boost community recreation ground

Published on Tue Jan 11 2022
Burnley town hall with blue sky

Part of a Burnley recreation ground could be set aside for use as a temporary car park for hospital staff to allow the development of an extra care unit at Burnley General Hospital.

Rental income generated from the arrangement would be used to fund improvements at Rakehead recreation ground which would be of long-term benefit to the local community.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust is proposing to develop an extra care facility on an area of the hospital which is currently a 200-space car park for nurses and medical staff.

The unit will provide for older people who require additional support while maintaining as much independence and dignity as possible.

As part of the scheme, a new multi-storey car park will be built. However, a temporary off-site car park is required for three years until the new development is completed.

Providing alternative parking would prevent the loss of patient and visitor parking at the hospital and adding pressure on parking spaces in the surrounding area.

Other possible parking sites were considered but rejected as being too far away from the hospital.

Councillor Sue Graham, the council’s executive for resources and performance, said: “We understand that the local community may have some concerns about the temporary loss of part of their recreation ground and we will work with them throughout this process.

“Access to the temporary car park will be from within the existing hospital site, not from nearby streets.

“Providing this temporary car park will help enable the extra care unit to go ahead providing much-needed facilities for local patients, will ease further pressure on parking spaces in and around the hospital and, once it’s no longer needed, will fund improvements to their recreation ground in the long-term.”

Rakehead recreation ground comprises a grassed level field, two surfaced ball courts, and a play area with play equipment. The proposal would reduce the grassed area by just under half with the rest of the recreation ground unaffected.

The Trust would pay the council an annual rent and reinstate the site to grass when the car park is no longer needed. That income would fund improvements to the recreation ground.

Local residents would be consulted on any proposed improvements which could include drainage, the provision of two small-sided junior sports pitches with artificial turf goal mouths, floodlighting on the two existing ball courts, and refurbishment of the play area.

Any agreement would be subject to the extra care unit and the temporary car park being granted planning permission. Both planning applications are set to be decided by the council in the new year. A report on leasing the land to the Trust will go to the council’s executive for a decision later this month.

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