Hospice claims wrangle over access road width is affecting ill children

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: WOODFOOD GREEN: Road decision "bureaucratic nonsense" WOODFOOD GREEN: Road decision "bureaucratic nonsense"

“BUREAUCRATIC nonsense” over the width of an access road to a children’s hospice is having a detrimental impact on the lives of terminally ill youngsters, it has been claimed.

Haven House Children’s Hospice and Woodford Rugby Club have earmarked £18,000 to pave a gravel access road from in High Road, Woodford Green, which is regularly used by hundreds of children but riddled with pot holes.

However, they have been told by the City of London Corporation (CLC) that they can only pave a 15ft-wide area, rather than cover the entire width of 20ft.

Haven House and the rugby club claim this will not create enough space for two vehicles to pass safely and will create a bottleneck on busy days which will cause vehicles to back up on to the busy High Road.

And Mike Palfreman, chief executive of Haven House, said the delay to the work is affecting the quality of life of young patients.

He said: “At the moment [this decision] is having a major impact on the local life-limited children and families we support and our staff and volunteers.

“It is very difficult to drive over let alone push our children in wheelchairs which therefore restricts outings for children and care staff.

“We are fully prepared to pay for a permanent solution, but not one that reduces the current width of the drive - that is not what our donors give their money for.”

Charles Price, rugby club committee member, said he is willing to compromise to reach an agreement, but accused the CLC of being “totally unreasonable” in refusing to budge.

He said the CLC’s stance has caused considerable “distress and disbelief”, adding: “To make it narrower would be dangerous and cause difficulties.

“It would also cause the traffic flow on the High Road to be interrupted as vehicles wait for others to come out.”

“The CLC position is factually correct but we believe bureaucratic nonsense.”

In a letter to the rugby club, Paul Thomson, superintendent of Epping Forest, wrote:” The Conservators make a clear distinction between access routes and highways and cannot sanction the construction on forest land of broader tracks, which invariably attract undesirable additional use such as ancillary parking and storage.”

He added that it had been decided that 15ft was adequate width for coaches and ambulances.

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