AN in-patient unit which is providing invaluable care to hospice patients and their families has been shortlisted for a prestigious design award.

Designed by Niven Architects, the St Teresa’s Hospice unit in Darlington joins a new leisure centre that has transformed the town centre in the finals of the Royal Chartered Institute of Surveyors Awards.

The Palliative Care Unit and Feethams Leisure Development will be judged again in the final on April 21 along with submissions from around the region.

St Teresa’s state of the art 10-room in-patient unit was built in the grounds of The Woodlands next to the existing Grade II listed hospice.

Niven Architects director Simon Crowe said: “The aim was to achieve a balance between a light and welcoming building which offered patients and their families the ability to relax and socialise in a home-from-home environment, without compromising on clinical standards.

“Our designers ensured the unit departed from the traditional clinical appearance offering, instead, bespoke design and finishes to the rooms, all of which look out onto stunning hospice gardens.”

The new unit, nominated in the Community Benefit category, enabled St Teresa’s to increase both occupancy levels and the range of treatments on offer.

Feethams Leisure Centre has been shortlisted in three categories; commercial, regeneration and tourism and leisure.

Located on the site of the former bus station, the development has created an integrated destination within the town in the form of a nine screen cinema, seven restaurants and bars and an 80 bed hotel, providing new jobs for 330 people and attracting visitors from around the country.

Sitting in the key gateway for visitors coming from Darlington Railway Station, its railway arch design has helped Feethams instantly become an integral part of the Darlington landscape.

Simon said: “Last year we achieved success at the RICS awards with the wonderful Daffodil House – providing independent living accommodation for people with learning disabilities – which was highly commended in the community benefit category.

“We’re hoping we can improve upon this further by achieving success with two buildings, which would be a wonderful achievement, by any standards.