Healthcare unit gets step closer

Artist's impression of the new mental health inpatient unit at Whyndyke Farm.
Artist's impression of the new mental health inpatient unit at Whyndyke Farm.
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FINAL plans for a £40m mental health unit look set to get the go ahead.

The Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust wants to build the facility, which would cater for up to 154 patients, on land at Whyndyke Farm on Preston New Road, Blackpool.

Outline permission is already in place for the unit but more detailed plans are being recommended for approval when they go before Blackpool’s planning committee on Monday.

Residents living close to the site had previously raised concerns about the scheme.

But Clifton ward councillor Adrian Hutton, who represents people living in nearby Mereside, said he believed most of the issues had been ironed out.

He said: “There were concerns the building would detract from the view across the fields but I think the fact it will be lower has helped resolve this.

“I don’t think people are too concerned about the mental health unit, it’s the over-development of the rest of the site with the possibility of 2,000 houses which is of more concern to residents.”

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A report to the committee says the building will be mostly single storey.

It also answers concerns about traffic and wildlife, saying the unit would be reached via the access to the former Graham’s caravan park.

New traffic signals will be installed on Preston New Road with a dedicated right turning lane for traffic coming from the M55 motorway.

Natural England has warned protected species including bat could be affected but suggests bat boxes and bird nesting boxes are included in the design.

The report adds: “The building has been designed to make the most of the site’s elevated position and the views to the east.”

The unit, which will be called The Harbour, will replace ageing facilities at Parkwood at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, as well as wards at Lytham Hospital and Fleetwood Hospital.

Part of the site is also within Fylde Council’s planning jurisdiction, with a report on reserved matters due before its February meeting.