Arthur Rank Hospice
A new Hospice to provide vital care for people in Cambridgeshire is set to open its doors to patients next month after an extensive construction project. Arthur Rank Hospice announced its intention to move from its existing location back in 2013 in order to improve facilities and meet an increased demand within Cambridgeshire and beyond.
The new building, built at a cost of just over £10 million, will allow the Charity to offer an expanded service with state-of-the-art equipment. After nearly three years the Hospice is scheduled for handover on 14th October and will officially open sometime in mid-November. Cambridge-based Northmores were the project managers both for the acquisition of the land and the build. Managing Director Peter Northmore spoke to Premier Construction about the origins and importance of the development:
“We were first invited in about five years ago to carry out an appraisal of the existing Hospice, which at the time was 32 years old, not just in terms of its condition but also its clinical functionality. We came up with a report that basically stated the building needed a lot of work doing to it to bring it up to current standards which would require a multi-million pound phased development. It would have also been disruptive and expensive to refurbish whilst keep the clinical services operating.
“The Trustees instructed us to find a new site for them within a relative proximity to Addenbrooke’s Hospital on the southern fringe of Cambridge which is a very expensive part of the City. We contacted a number of developers about taking land and had to go through a process with the Planners of looking at over 100 sites and eventually found a site that was Local Authority owned but was actually in Greenbelt so we had to be able to justify building there in the context of the Local Planning policy.
“It was unusual for a project management team to be delegated the role of agreeing the site with the Local Authority and negotiating a purchase price for the land. We acquired the site and then assembled a design team.”
A competition was held to find an architect, with Norwich-based LSI being selected out of twelve entries. Other consultants included Peter Brett overseeing structural and civil engineering, Hoare Lea providing engineering services and Faithful+Gould acting as quantity surveyors.
In addition to bringing care services up to date, the move is also being driven by the population growth in and around Cambridge. Approximately 4500m2 in size, the new Hospice has 24 beds and therefore can accommodate double the number of inpatients. A large Education Centre will be used to support the Hospice and end of life care service throughout Cambridge as well as parts of Suffolk and Norfolk.
There is also a Bistro offering an extensive range of food and large amounts of indoor and outdoor space for patients and visitors to utilise. Office space is also provided to support fundraising teams and management staff. Timber has been used throughout to create a less clinical feel alongside bright colours for wayfinding purposes.
The idea behind the original Hospice came from Dr David Bratherton who felt patients in Cambridge with terminal illnesses needed a better end of care service. The building opened in October 1981 and the Charity was founded at the same time as a ‘Friends of’ group. The site expanded over time whilst the Charity has become a Company Limited by Guarantee and now commits approximately £1.5 million to provide end of life care and facilities for patients each year.
“Personally for me and the project manager Jamie Saunders, it wasn’t just a commercial project but a project for Cambridge. This is something our friends and family might use so it has a personal meaning to all of us. It’s more than just another building because it’s actually providing something for the community. Five years ago I decided I was going to deliver this for the Hospice and it was something I would make happen.
“We pulled a lot of strings locally. Cambridge in terms of building is a major hotspot and is expanding rapidly. The contracting market is overheated and therefore we selected a contracting team from Ipswich, Barnes Construction, who had a supply chain based in Suffolk which meant good availability and costs weren’t as high.”
Northmores was re-established in 2011 utilising Peter’s reputation in the Cambridge construction industry and has become one of the Region’s leading providers of project management and lead consultancy services.