A ground-breaking new £2.2 million hospice extension which heats itself and looks after surrounding wildlife is in the running for a top building award.

The new extension built by Flintshire company Anwyl Construction for the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, at Backford, near Chester, has been shortlisted for the North West Local Authority Building Control Awards as Best Public Service Building

The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at the Emirates Old Trafford, home of Lancashire County Cricket Club, next Friday, May 19.

The eco-friendly Hospice building, nominated for the prestigious awards, has ground-source heating from a series of 150-metre deep shafts less than a foot in diameter which tap into heat stored deep underground and use heat exchangers to bring it up to a comfortable 20-plus centigrade.

It also has solar panels and energy-saving lighting internally while outside there are bat boxes and a family of rare barn owls also successfully raised their offspring while Anwyl carried out the build.

That involved moving 300 wagonloads of soil, over 4,000 cubic metres weighing 6000 tonnes, and the sinking of sheet steel piling, 12 metres deep to retain the land on the sloping site.

Now up to 50 people with life-limiting conditions are using the range of facilities at the Living Well Centre in the new building every week and Hospice Director of Clinical Services Vanessa Brown said: “We’re delighted with the job that Anwyl have done and the way it enables us to extend our services to the community.

“It has made a real improvement to what we can offer and increases the number of people we can reach and at the same time we can bring all our staff together under one roof.

“This new development has also enabled us to create four new single en-suite rooms from a previous four bedded area which will give greater privacy to our patients and their families.

“It’s also bright and airy and has a lovely feeling of light and space and we’re just about to open the new café to the public which will mean we can contact even more local people.

“That’s important because we have to raise £4 million a year to continue to provide these vital services for the people of Chester and the surrounding area.”

Simon Rose, Commercial Manager for Anwyl Construction, said: “It was a complicated build because of the nature of the site but we’ve worked closely with the Hospice throughout and with the local community, including the wildlife, to make a success of it.

“We also carried out the refurbishment of part of the existing building which meant liaising on a day to day basis with the Hospice and worked with the Council’s Building Control department to make sure everything went smoothly.

“We’re really pleased with the result which is a building with full disabled access and incorporates a sustainable solution to heating, by relying solely on the ground-source heat pump system for the entire building. It’s always nice to have your work recognised by being short-listed for an important quality award.”

The 18 staff in the new building provide services for people over 18 with life-limiting conditions and the range of services includes physiotherapy, creative activities, acupuncture, relaxation, gentle exercise and complementary therapy.

It houses therapy rooms, rooms for clinical treatment, counselling, creative and occupational therapies and physiotherapy, consulting and training as well as a new cafe and shop and a garden and patio with raised beds for patients to enjoy gardening.

Margaret Wright, the new Chief Executive of the Hospice, said: “I’m delighted to be moving into the role at such an exciting time for the Hospice with these new facilities as a result of this high quality build by Anwyl Construction and the way they will enable us to improve services to our patients.”

For more information on the Anwyl group go to http://www.anwyl.co.uk and for more on the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, including details of their fund-raising events, go to http://www.hospiceofthegoodshepherd.com