Go-ahead for one-stop health centre

A NEW "one stop" health and social services centre in a Suffolk town has been given the green light by councillors – subject to conditions.The proposals – for a site at North Entrance in Saxmundham – received majority support from Suffolk Coastal district councillors at a development control sub-committee meeting yesterday .

By Sarah Chambers

A NEW "one stop" health and social services centre in a Suffolk town has been given the green light by councillors - subject to conditions.

The proposals - for a site at North Entrance in Saxmundham - received majority support from Suffolk Coastal district councillors at a development control sub-committee meeting yesterday .

The centre, larger than the one originally outlined, is set to include a range of facilities including a doctors' surgery, dentists, opticians, social services, a day nursery and a café for patients and staff. A second building is set to house an ambulance station and midwifery birthing unit.


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Dr John Havard, a partner with Saxmundham Health Group which is spearheading the plans, said they were "delighted".

Planners are set to negotiate certain conditions with the applicants, including moving the main building to the north of the site and further from nearby homes by removing lime trees which were the subject of a provisional tree preservation order, and landscaping around the site.

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Councillor Marian Andrews was one of two committee members to vote against the plans.

Cllr Andrews is also Saxmundham town council chairman, but withdrew from the debate when it went before town councillors as consultees.

She voiced concern about the proposed centre's size and the potential effect on some town centre businesses.

She questioned whether residents wanted such a "large monster" on their doorsteps.

The council received 139 letters of support for the application, three letters of objection, and a further letter from a planning consultant who raised concerns including the size of the development and the use of a greenfield site.

Some supporting the plans did express reservations about the modern design of the buildings.

Go-East, the Government Office for the East of England decided against calling in the application after it was asked to look into it by objectors.

Saxmundham Business Association also wrote in support of the application following a meeting with Dr Havard.

Kelsale-cum-Carlton parish council, Snape parish council and Saxmundham town council supported the application, which was also backed by various bodies including the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge National Health Service Strategic Health Authority.

Dr Havard said after the meeting: "The fact that they want the two post mature diseased lime trees felled wholly concurs with our initial aspirations. The plans had to accommodate these limes but if they can now be felled then the main building can move and can be even further away from residents."

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