Hopes high for town's new GP surgery
By James HoreA MUCH-NEEDED new health centre for a riverside town may have to be built on protected coastal land.The current GP practice in Wivenhoe has been based in The Avenue for 19 years, but as a result of the expanding population in the town and increasing demand for health services, the building is no longer suitable and has "severely cramped conditions".
By James Hore
A MUCH-NEEDED new health centre for a riverside town may have to be built on protected coastal land.
The current GP practice in Wivenhoe has been based in The Avenue for 19 years, but as a result of the expanding population in the town and increasing demand for health services, the building is no longer suitable and has "severely cramped conditions".
There is also pressure on the surgery to expand its patient numbers, but doctors are do not want the quality of service to be affected.
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The Wivenhoe GP practice, the primary care trust and councillors have identified a greenfield land site next to the fire station on Colchester Road for the new health centre.
But the site is on the edge of land designated as coastal protection belt and permission for the construction of a new health centre there would involve Colchester borough councillors agreeing to depart from their usual planning policy.
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However, Wivenhoe Town Council believes an exception has to be made to the planning policy because of the lack of an alternative site and pressing need for a new centre to cater for the increasing patient numbers.
It said: "It will be an exception made for an essential community building, needed to accommodate the needs of Wivenhoe's population expansion and on the basis that the rest of the land remains coastal protection belt to protect and preserve the 'green wedge' between Wivenhoe and the rest of Colchester."
The change of status to the land is only being sought for the 900 square metres needed for the health centre and the town council said it had no desire to develop the rest of the site for housing.
The new building could have between18 and 20 rooms in a two-storey building about double the size of the existing surgery and would have about 30 parking spaces.