UPDATED: Council chiefs give £5m Leeds cancer support centre plans the green light

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Plans for a new state-of-the-art £5 million cancer support centre in Leeds have been given the go-ahead.

The Maggie’s charity will open its first Yorkshire facility - complete with roof gardens and a futuristic feel - at St James’s Hospital in 2017.

Leeds City Council’s North and East Plans Panel unanimously approved the proposals yesterday, but urged that long-standing issues over lack of sufficient car parking at the hospital are first resolved.

Councillors said the “high quality” facility would be “great for Leeds” However not dealing with parking would be a “disservice” to users, visitors and staff alike.

The building will be erected on land next to the Alma Street multi-storey car park close to the hospital’s Institute of Oncology at Bexley Wing to establish a direct pathway for cancer patients to the facility.

It is set be a walk-in centre offering complimentary therapies, practical help, courses and support groups.

Laura Lee, chief executive of Maggie’s said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been granted planning permission to bring a Maggie’s Centre to Yorkshire.

“Creating a calm and uplifting environment to enable us to be able to provide our programme of support to people living with cancer is incredibly important and Heatherwick Studio’s wonderful design will allow us to do just that.

“The Leeds Cancer Centre sees over 12,500 people newly diagnosed with cancer per year and we will aim to provide the highest quality of cancer support to the patients of St James’s University Hospital and their families.”

Dr Linda Pollard, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “I am delighted that the plans for the new Maggies Centre here in Leeds are progressing so well.

“This is a significant milestone on the way to bringing this superb facility to complement our existing cancer services for patients from across the region.

“There is much work still to do but the signs are extremely promising and we are greatly looking forward to working with the team from Maggies to make their vision a reality.”

The Maggie’s centre was designed by Heatherwick Studio, founded by Thomas Heatherwick CBE who designed the 2012 Olympic cauldron. The plans were submitted to the council earlier this year.

Maggie’s has been working with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in a bid to offer additional support to cancer patients on top of that provided by the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, situated behind the Thackray Museum.

The Macmillan centre sees over 12,500 people newly diagnosed with cancer per year and offers specialist services such as yoga classes, counselling, hair loss services and hypnotherapy.

Building work on the new facility must begin within two years.

There are 15 Maggie’s Centres offering crucial support to cancer patients in the grounds of specialist NHS hospitals nationwide.

Visit www.maggiescentres.org for details.

Vanellope Hope Wilkins. PIC: PA

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