Medical centre moves a step closer

HOPES for a long-awaited medical complex near Southwold have been given a boost after plans moved a crucial step forward.

HOPES for a long-awaited medical complex near Southwold have been given a boost after plans moved a crucial step forward.

Six years since the first proposal was made, a planning application has been submitted to Waveney District Council that could transform health facilities for people living in the area.

If given the go-ahead, the Reydon & Southwold Healthy Living Centre will provide people with a one-stop medical shop that houses doctors' and dentist surgeries and a 60-bed residential carehome.

The project also includes 36 homes, shops, and a new village green aimed at creating a “heart” for the community,

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Developer Hopkins Homes said the complex would generate jobs and re-shape the centre of Reydon.

Its application states: “Whilst the facilities within Southwold are sufficiently close enough to provide for the day to day needs of the majority of residents of both settlements, they are obviously less accessible to those Reydon residents at either end of the age spectrum, together with those who are less mobile. It is also important to note that the resident population of Reydon is now twice that of the resident population of Southwold.”

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It adds that existing facilities within Reydon, which has a settlement of 2,600 people, are limited to a small convenience store and a hotel, and that the majority of non-recreational services used by villagers are in neighbouring Southwold.

If the plan gets backing the develop proposes to build the complex on the playing field of the former Eversley School, with Nightingale Avenue being identified as the best access. The land has been vacant since the school closed in 1997.

Plans for the new health centre have attracted support from members of the community, who were given a chance to respond to the plans at a public exhibition in May.

The centre would replace Southwold Surgery, which is unable to cope with a growing population, and expand the provisions currently offered to include midwifery and a full range of community care services.

The carehome, which will meet demand from an increasing elderly population in the Reydon and Southwold area, will enable its residents to take advantage of on-the-doorstep medical facilities.

Funding for the Healthy Living Centre will come from a partnership between the NHS and the private sector, national and regional grant awarding organisations and capital raised locally.

The initiative is led by Waveney Healthcare, a company that has been set up by local doctors and nurses, whose assets will belong to the community.

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