The vision of Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes is to be the lasting and thriving provider of free care to all people affected by life limiting illness in the community. To achieve their vision and services, it has become necessary to expand their current premises on site.

DCa was appointed to remodel and extend the current buildings, including works to the Listed Manor Farmhouse. Planning consent for two new two-storey extensions, with internal modification works to the existing buildings, was granted in December 2019.

Willen Hospice has been a provider of care to all people with life limiting illnesses for over 40 years. It is based in a former Grade II Listed Manor Farmhouse with more recent extensions and has a prominent setting overlooking the North Lake in Willen. Willen is one the grid squares in the network of Milton Keynes and is sited to the north east of the city. The Hospice is situated in the old part of Willen, often referred to as Willen Village, which includes a Grade I Listed Church and an old school house. The site is within a Conservation Area.

Given the sensitive nature of the site, the proposed extensions and remodelling works to the existing building complex were submitted to Milton Keynes Council for pre-application advice. The Hospice also organised a series of community events to present the proposals to the local community.

The design was developed to achieve key objectives for the Hospice:

  • to maximise the lake or garden view for all patient bedrooms;
  • to accommodate all clinical services, both related to inpatients and community, in one building;
  • to accommodate all patient and family services (social care, family/children care, bereavement care, chaplaincy carer support) within clinical services, to facilitate access by inpatient users;
  • to improve visibility of the nursing team, whilst maintaining confidential office space on the in-patient unit;
  • to provide open informal space for discreet communication with relatives and visitors;
  • to improve accommodation of community teams to allow more interactive management of community patients;
  • to provide a suitable clinical meeting area for clinical meetings, MDT meetings and handover meetings;
  • to increase accessibility for people of Milton Keynes to visit and engage with the Hospice;
  • to develop a new catering department, with a new kitchen, dining room and eating area;
  • consideration for service growth.

The scale of the proposals have been carefully designed to preserve the status of the Listed Building, whilst harmonising with the existing accommodation wing appended to the Manor Farmhouse.

A key hub for the Hospice will be the ‘Octagon’ café which is carefully located to take full advantage of the outlook over the lake to the South, The distinctive octagonal design draws upon the bays of the Manor Farmhouse and is intended to promote wider awareness of the services that the Hospice provides to the community. The arrangement at lower ground level can also accommodate future external fundraising events.

With new bedrooms, a more flexible wellbeing centre, a new kitchen and café, new office space, doctor and nursing hubs, an IT hub, reception and more accessible parking, the Hospice will be able to continue and expand its wonderful services for the community.

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