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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 13:51 GMT
Angry reaction to hospice move
Rachel House, Kinross, Perthshire
The charity already operates the Rachel House hospice
A decision to recommend the refusal of a planning application for Scotland's second children's hospice has been condemned by campaigners and local councillors.

Plans for the hospice at Balloch, near Loch Lomond, look set to be rejected because the site falls within the new national park.

West Dunbartonshire Council, whose area includes Balloch, had recommended the plans for approval.

Cllr Iain Robertson, convener of the council's planning committee, said he was "extremely disappointed" to hear of the report from the national park authority acting planning director Richard Hickman.

Agnes Malone
Agnes Malone: "Devastated"
Mr Robertson said the hospice was "a development of major local and national importance".

"The people of West Dunbartonshire have been actively involved in fundraising for Chas (Children's Hospice Association Scotland) and will be greatly concerned if the committee approves this report."

The chief executive of Chas, Agnes Malone, said she was "devastated" by the recommendation.

She said the search for the Balloch site had taken 18 months and planning the development a similar length of time.

Natural beauty

"I will fight to the end to get this. I hope we will be able to convince the committee next week that this is a good and proper thing to do for the people of Scotland."

One fundraiser, who is currently organising a world record charity golf event specifically to raise money for the new hospice, contacted BBC News Online to voice his disbelief at the move.

Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor has campaigned for the new hospice
Paul Coffey said: "It's bad enough that families have to put up with the trauma of losing a child but now being told by a penpusher that a facility which helps to care for both the child and their family shouldn't be in an area of natural beauty because it doesn't quite fit with their idea of what the park is all about is outrageous.

"Doesn't this guy understand that all right thinking people would prefer that one of Scotland's natural treasures (Loch Lomond) should be shared by another of Scotland's treasures, its children.

"If it's the case that this decision is based on what the land is for, I wonder if he could tell us where he would rather these children and their families were cared for.

"After all, his own guidelines state specifically 'to promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public' - not if you're a child that's dying, apparently."

See also:

04 Dec 02 | Scotland
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