ST DAVID’S Hospice Care is to create a new 15-bed state-of-the-art in-patient unit at its site in Newport.

Newport council’s planning committee today approved an application for the expansion, earmarked for the current day hospice site on Blackett Avenue, Malpas.

The £2.9 million site was opened three years ago, providing a day hospice and chemotherapy outreach centre to offer day respite and care to patients with a terminal illness.

The proposed new building would be linked to the current day hospice by a corridor, and share staff and facilities across both units.

It is hoped the expansion will help tackle the shortfall in the number of beds needed in the Newport area as well as bringing both elements of the hospice’s work together under one roof with inpatients and day patients.

St David’s Hospice Care already has a 10-bed in-patient unit in Newport in the grounds of St Joseph’s Hospital in Malpas - the former St Anne’s Hospice, which it took over from the Sisters of St Joseph in June 2013 - but it needs more.

It costs £7.2 million a year to run the hospice, with £1.2 million of that sum spent to run the St Anne’s Hospice site. It is unknown how much the expansion will cost.

In the application, chief executive Emma Saysell said: “St David’s Hospice care has a five year lease on the current site at St Joseph’s Hospital; however, it is clear that the current hospice is not fit for purpose and more hospice beds are required for the local population.”

The hospice, which is supported by more than 500 volunteers, believes the extension would create “a centre of excellence for palliative and cancer care in a harmonious and beautifully landscaped, ecologically diverse environment”.

The new single-storey building will house 15 en-suite bedrooms, with each room leading onto a terraced area overlooking a proposed garden to be used by patients and visitors. Fifty-seven car parking spaces are also proposed.

Patients would stay an average of one or two weeks at the new unit, being cared for by a team of six nurses during the day, and three at night.

Gwent Wildlife Trust agreed the ecological value of the site would be improved by the landscaping proposals.

Three residents living nearby lodged objections concerning the large amount of land being taken for the project.

Wildlife concerns were also raised by residents, along with loss of privacy, loss of quality of life and increased traffic and parking problems.

The council received one letter of support from a neighbour in support of the hospice’s plan, noting the “vital and caring service” St David’s provides.