Go-ahead for dental specialist surgery to move to rural site

Foxhall Hall is a stunning property with 12 acres of land Picture: Rufus Owen/Oliver Johnson

The new orthodontics surgery will be created in the former farm buildings at Foxhall Hall - seen here to the north of the hall - Credit: Rufus Owen/Oliver Johnson

The go-ahead has been given for agricultural buildings to be turned into a new specialist dentist surgery to enable an established company to relocate. 

Suffolk Orthodontics, which has been based in Bell Lane, Kesgrave, for 20 years will open the new centre at Foxhall Hall.

Villagers had objected to earlier plans to also include a new cafe aimed at cyclists and runners and still have traffic concerns over the dental surgery.

The cafe project was withdrawn and East Suffolk Council has now given the go-ahead for Suffolk Orthodontics to move to Hall Road, Foxhall.

The surgery is predominantly an NHS specialist practice providing both primary and secondary NHS care for around 2,000 patients. The surgery had 16,000 patient visits in 2019.

While needing to relocate to improve facilities, it also needed to stay in the area where most of its patients and 28 highly-skilled staff live, and also to meet NHS England requirements for where specialist surgeries should be sited.

Applicant Ian Davies said several sites had been looked at around the Ipswich area but Foxhall Hall was the "ideal geographical position fitting in with NHS England desire for an even distribution of specialist practices", existing patients and staff would not have to travel further, and buildings already existed which could be developed.

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The move will allow better surgical space for the treating clinician and patient, and an improved layout, and enhanced facilities for both staff and patients and their families. There is no anticipation of an increase in patient numbers - which have been in a steady state for some time – as a result of the proposed move.

Documents submitted to the council said: "However, the move will have a dramatic effect on the patient experience through improved technological facilities and space. The proposed move will also have a dramatic effect on the staff, enhancing their work experience with improved surgical and other facilities. This proposal will bring Suffolk Orthodontics in line with the national gold standard."

Foxhall Parish Council objected because it feels Hall Road is a narrow country single-track lane and "not suitable for the amount of traffic such a development would bring" - at least an additional 162 trips daily.