A £16.5MILLION “spa hotel” in the heart of Southend will double the number of Havens Hospices’ patients and bring new treatments to the area.

The two-storey crescent-shaped adult hospice planned for Priory Crescent, overlooking therapeutic gardens and the Ekco sports ground, will increase in-patient beds from ten to 16, day care services from 15 to 20 patients and offer out-patient treatments for the first time in Southend.

More than 180 people viewed plans for the hospice, which could open by spring 2019, unveiled at Prittlewell Priory visitor centre.

The charity describes the stateof- the-art facility, which would have lounge areas, a bistro cafe, a chapel and balconies large enough for beds overlooking a landscaped garden, as “more like a spa hotel than a medical facility”.

Andy Smith, chief executive of the charity, said: “It’s about ensuring there is good quality hospice care for this community in years to come, in a purposebuilt hospice with modern facilities designed for the needs of people using it, and developing good community services to care for people in their homes.

“We are excited by it and think it will be great for the local community.”

Set in 3.5acres of land in the south west corner of the former Ekco factory site, the new facility would have a wide “street”

through the middle, losing the narrow corridors of the charity’s cramped Fair Havens hospice in Second Avenue, Chalkwell, which would be sold.

About 90 per cent of the building would be directly related to patient care, with the remaining space for fundraising offices and meeting rooms.

The new day centre will be integrated with the in-patient facilities to break down the psychological barrier patients face when moving in to continue care at Fair Havens, where a car park separates the two parts.

Four treatment rooms will offer out-patient treatments, including blood transfusions and chemotherapy, and information and advice for the first time.

It will offer new treatments for conditions such as lymphoedema, never before offered in Southend, including at Southend Hospital.