Plans to develop residential accommodation and a day care centre for brain injury patients has been given approval – and will help to stop people having to travel hundreds of miles for appropriate care (writes the East Anglian Daily Times/Ipswich Star).
Headway Suffolk was given the green light for a new base, which will be built on old airfield land in the Ravenswood area of Ipswich, at Wednesday’s Ipswich Borough Council planning committee.
The centre will replace the charity’s base at Ransomes Europark, which it has outgrown, and feature a two-storey day care centre and offices as well as a 24-bed accommodation block for treating those with neurological conditions.
Helen Fairweather, chief executive of the charity, told the committee: “There is no other facility like this in the eastern region and at the moment our clients have to go far afield – as far as Hull – for appropriate provision.”
After permission had been approved, she added: “It’s absolutely fantastic. I think it’s really good for the town of Ipswich and for Suffolk, particularly for people with a neurological condition.
“A neurological condition can happen to any of us at any time so it’s really good for everyone in the area.”
The charity is currently having to rent additional accommodation, which is expensive, and this new facility will stop this from happening.
Ms Fairweather said long distance treatment often broke up marriages and family relationships for those with head injuries, and the new centre would keep people nearer their families.
A start date for work to begin on the centre, which will be named after Professor Stephen Hawking, has not yet been given, but Ms Fairweather said: “We don’t want to delay this, we need this, we need it today so we will act as quickly as we can.”
The organisation supports people with neurological conditions and their families to recuperate after patients have been discharged from hospital.
Earlier this year it launched a fundraising drive for £5million for the project, while the sale of its existing base will also help fund the development.
Councillor Colin Kreidewolf said: “This is an important development to our town and the positive addition to the facilities the town has to offer is a very welcome addition.
“Having seen the designs at an early stage the design of the building has improved through the planning process.”