Vacant dentist surgery to become specialist education facility

The Bupa dental surgery in Leiston is set to shut due to a lack of dentists Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The former Bupa dentist surgery in Leiston - Credit: Archant

A former dental surgery which has been empty for almost a year is set to become a specialist education facility, after new plans were given the go ahead. 

The old Bupa dental surgery in Crown Street, Leiston, closed last March after it struggled to attract enough dentists to keep the practice going. 

Since then, however, the building has been empty, despite what the applicants describe as "extensive marketing". 

Now, Compass Children's Homes is to take over the building to turn it into an educational facility help local children. 

The plans for site would include the creation of a number of classrooms as well as an exam room and kitchen. 

"The children to be educated at the site will predominantly be girls...for whom it has always been assumed that a dedicated specialist school setting would be most beneficial," read a planning statement submitted to East Suffolk Council by consultants WYG on behalf of Compass. 

The statement explains that the children helped by Compass are some of the most vulnerable; including those who have "experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences".

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At the moment, all the children are supported at home or are at mainstream schools which Compass believe are not suitable for their needs. 

"Hence the need to create a suitable education environment where pupils can catch up and thrive in their education," read the application. 

WYG also included in the application that the use of the building for education would reduce the high levels of activity at the site "to the benefit of both nearby residents and the operation of the local highway network".

Leiston Town Council recommended the plans be approved. 

East Suffolk Council's planning officers also recommended the plans approval saying it would "fill a local need". 

The plans have since been approved by the council. 

News of the building's conversion comes just days after it was revealed that the town would be losing its another dental practice, the mydentist practice on High Street, after the company also struggled to recruit dentists for the site.  

The loss of both surgeries has left the town without a dentist.