A CHILDREN'S hospice has been forced to dramatically scale back its plans to protect the safety of terminally ill children by improving a potholed access road after a landowner refused to compromise over a narrow stretch of land.
Haven House in High Road, Woodford Green, has for two-and-a-half years been pleading with the Corporation of London to allow the potholed lane to be resurfaced to a width of 20ft, claiming it becomes congested and hazardous for drivers and young patients - many of whom need to be transported using specialist equipment.
But the Corporation have blocked the move, insisting this would encroach on forest land and contravene strict by-laws preventing development.
Now Haven House and neighbouring Woodford Rugby Club have given up hope of striking a deal and are instead seeking permission from Redbridge Council to improve the existing surface.
They are also asking to widen the access point and dropped kerb from High Road, while improving passing points.
Haven House chief executive Mike Palfreman said: "It is not the perfect compromise for us but good enough to get on with the application.
"Since this has been going on for two and a half years, just to improve safety for terminally ill children who use the hospice, we thought for goodness sake let's get on with it."
Charles Price, head of the rugby club, said: "Haven House does very good work. The children who use it are not in good health and they have to bought to the hospice in special vehicles.
"The road is an appalling condition, full of potholes with water sloshing everywhere.
"People coming out the road kept clipping their wheels on the kerb because it wasn't wide enough and cars were having to wait to pass each other causing tail backs down the road.
"We have people who won't come to the club because they won't use the road.
"Hopefully this application will be the end of it and the new road will benefit us both for the next 50 years."
A spokesman for the City of London Corporation said: “Responsibility for the maintenance of private access roads lies with the wayleave-holder, not the City of London Corporation.
“A resurfacing of the road will resolve concerns about potholes and improve safety for its users.
“We have a statutory duty to protect Forest land from development; however, we have offered an increased bellmouth - which is 50 per cent wider than a standard wayleave entrance – and a passing place opposite the Rugby Club entrance.
“We believe that these measures will now achieve the solution that the hospice and the rugby club have been looking for.”
Comments on the application can be made until November 29. .
Click here to see the application.