HOSPICE staff have been left aghast after a move to ease access for disabled children was dashed by the Corporation of London.

Haven House hospice, off the High Road in Woodford Green, wants to repave the potholed access road which it shares with the neighbouring Woodford Rugby Club.

The hospice believes a width of 20ft is needed to allow ambulances to pass each other safely – but it needs the permission of the Corporation.

At a meeting of the corporation’s trustees on Tuesday (January 10) a compromise offer of 18ft was rejected, and the corporation’s superintendent, Paul Thomson, is now insisting on no more than 15ft.

Mike Palfreman, the hospice’s chief executive, said: “Clearly they have not moved at all.

“We now need to sit down and sort out what we are going to do because if we don’t make any repairs then it completely limits the activities the children can do outside of the hospice.

“It’s far too bumpy to push wheelchairs down there.

“I don’t know what we will do now, this is a totally unreasonable position to take.”

The Corporation is responsible for enforcing an 1878 act of Parliament which protects Epping Forest land, but Charles Price, of Woodford Rugby Club, said it was completely out of touch with the community.

“I think this is a complete disgrace,” he said.

“I told Mr Thomson that we are very angry about this and we will not let it lie.

“They have not moved an inch. I urged him to go back and see if something can be done now, because he must see that this will do their reputation no good at all.

“It’s a completely hostile attitude to the community and I find their stance utterly incomprehensible.”

Paul Thomson said: “While we are doing everything in our power to be a good neighbour, as a charitable trust we are unable to surrender forest land which has been placed in our care for purposes beyond the Act.”

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