Safety fear over plans to expand secure Stevenage hospital

A SECURE hospital which treats mentally ill patients could be expanded to twice the size if approval is given for a major development on rural land.

An application has been made to Stevenage Borough Council to build a 41 bed extension with 87 additional car parking spaces alongside the 90 bed Cygnet Hospital on Graveley Road.

The plans are an amended version of an application for a smaller development recommended for approval by council planning officers in 2010.

Cygnet estimates the development would create 75 new nursing positions as well as associated service and administrative posts in addition to the 186 full and part time employees at the site.

It contributes more than £1.5m to the local economy the company added.

But those living nearby are concerned that the development will increase the risk of harm to the public.

One resident who did not want to be named said: “We already have a lot of police helicopter flights and police presence in the area due to abscondees. By increasing this facility the risk to local residents also increases.”

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The application will go before the council planning committee in January.