Councillors back one stop health shop

SAXMUNDHAM town councillors have backed detailed plans for a one-stop health shop for the town.Ten town councillors voted in favour of the cutting edge scheme, proposed by the town's GP surgery, and one abstained at a town council meeting on Monday night.

SAXMUNDHAM town councillors have backed detailed plans for a one-stop health shop for the town.

Ten town councillors voted in favour of the cutting edge scheme, proposed by the town's GP surgery, and one abstained at a town council meeting on Monday night.

The one-stop shop is set to include a range of facilities and services for local people, including a GP surgery, social services and childcare facilities.

Members of the public packed the meeting, and a show of hands revealed those present strongly backed the plans.

The GP group welcomed the decision for the plans as submitted.

A previous letter sent to Suffolk Coastal District Council before the meeting said the planning committee of Saxmundham town council opposed the application as it stood, saying it would require an extension into the sports ground's historical parkland and the felling of five trees.

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Saxmundham and District Business Association expressed concern that the inclusion of an optician's, pharmacy and dentist's in the plans would leave empty shops in the town.

It also asked for a postponement of a decision to enable the association to “have time to view the new plans and arrange an open meeting of our 50 plus business members and other interested parties in Saxmundham”.

But town councillor Ron Warren said the town was thriving compared to how it had been, and pointed out that only one shop premises was currently empty.

Dr John Havard, a partner at the surgery, said: “We are delighted to have received the backing of the town council which we feel is crucial. Whilst we acknowledge that the district council will make their own independent decision, we feel it's vital that we have the backing of the local people in this exciting project.”

If the planners' report is ready, the application could go before Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee on February 4.

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