Monday 17 March 2008

An Taisce opposes Sandyford hospital

AN TAISCE is opposing the construction of a new €160 million women's, children's and maternity hospital in Sandyford.

The objection from the environmental awareness body casts further doubt on a planning application lodged with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council by the Beacon Medical Group.

Prompted by a lack of adequate sewerage services in the area, county manager Owen Keegan last month announced the local authority will reject planning permission for developments of larger than two houses.

An Taisce wrote to planners in the council stating that the proposal is "premature" and that permission should not be granted "until a revised Urban Framework Plan for the Sandyford area is completed, establishing guidelines for building heights, and measures are adopted to improve the capacity of the existing road and transport infrastructure".

If the planners agree, it could result in the Beacon Medical Group having to relocate the 120-bed hospital.

However, the healthcare consortium remains hopeful of proceeding with its preferred option of building the facility next to the existing Beacon Hospital.

"We would be extremely disappointed if a sewerage problem leads to the desperately needed hospital not going ahead," said Pauline Cullen, a spokeswoman for the Beacon Group.

"We have had numerous meetings with council management regarding our planning application and believe we have addressed and overcome the specific concerns with infrastructure in Sandyford."

Ms Cullen added that amid reports of women giving birth on trolleys in some hospitals, there is a "dire need" for the facility which could cater for 3,000 births per year.

The hospital would take just over two years to build. The council is expected to announce its decision next week.

The Irish Times

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