Maggie's Centres at Southampton and Oldham win planning approval

A woodland garden designed by Sarah Price will be a "haven" for users of a new Maggie's Centre set in the grounds of Southampton General Hospital.

Artist's impression of Maggie's Southampton. Image: Supplied
Artist's impression of Maggie's Southampton. Image: Supplied

The centre has been designed by internationally renowned practice AL_A and is scheduled to open in 2017. Amanda Levete of AL_A said the approach of Maggie's Centres was to create an uplifting space that changes the way people think about themselves and interact with others.

"The centre creates an oasis in the grounds of Southampton General Hospital: a woodland glade seemingly transported from the nearby New Forest. Our centre is a disappearing building, using minimal structure and movable partitions to frame spaces of varying privacy and enclosure that nonetheless remain connected to the landscape. We want there to be the strong sense that the garden has always been here, a natural haven that provides seclusion and protection from the outside world."

The surrounding gardens will be designed by award-winning landscape designer Sarah Price, co-designer of the 2012 Gardens at the Olympic Park in east London.

Price explained: "Landscape is a fundamentnal component of each Maggie's Centre. There's no doubt that looking at 'nature' has a positive impact on how we feel. The Southampton Centre's landscape is inspired by the much loved New Forest, and draws its healing power from the rich diversity of the Forest's flora. In the spring wood anemones, early flowering orchids, wild garlic, lesser celandines, bluebells and primroses will light up the woodland pathways."

A new Maggie's Centre in the grounds of The Royal Oldham Hospital has also received planning approval and is due to open later this year. It has been designed by dRMM architects with landscaping by Jinny Blom Landscape Design.

The gardens will create a restorative natural woodland with a staircase, part of dRMM's design, descending through the canopies of birch, pine and magnolia with the centre floating above the garden.

Blom explained: "Gardens and the opportunity they give us to immerse ourselves in nature are immensely important. Fresh air, calm places, proximity to plants and wildlife help balance the emotional and physical intensity that accompanies stressful times.

"The little garden at Maggie's can be enjoyed from within in the treetops due to the wonderful floating building, or as a charming woodland experience with little glades to sit in and enjoy the birds flitting about. Essentially we are making a gentle woodland setting, full of delight, for the timber and glass building.

The new centre will be the charity's second in Greater Manchester, following in the footsteps of Maggie's at The Christie which is due to open this Spring.

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