New dental surgery bid set to fail

By Jenni DixonA PLAN for a much-needed dental surgery in a town where residents are having problems seeing dentist on the NHS looks set to be thwarted.

By Jenni Dixon

A PLAN for a much-needed dental surgery in a town where residents are having problems seeing dentist on the NHS looks set to be thwarted.

There is only one NHS surgery in the Halesworth area, but it cannot take any more adult NHS patients, forcing many residents to travel to Harleston in Norfolk to have their teeth checked.

A plan has been submitted by Hart-Spencer to Waveney District Council seeking permission to use the ground floor of a building off Saxon Way, Halesworth, for clinics for dentistry and all forms of alternative treatments.

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The building was to be used for two gyms and a squash court, but the Reydon-based company believed there was no demand for such facilities because of similar venues in the town and in nearby Bungay and Lowestoft.

However, council planning officers have recommended councillors should reject the plan because the original application had advocated community-based facilities for the benefit of Halesworth.

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John Anderson, who runs a two-dentist practice in Quay Street, Halesworth, has written to the council expressing doubts that the proposed dental surgery would be viable.

Mr Anderson added he had been experiencing problems attracting an associate dentist to his surgery to help cope with the 4,000 NHS patients in the area.

Nearby residents have also written to the council, concerned over more traffic using River Lane, increased parking problems and noise.

The George Maltings Residents Association was also worried about the use of the first floor of the building for a social club.

Association chairman, James Clark, said: "We have no disagreement with the change of use, but we object to the late night opening of the first floor. "It was to be part of the downstairs sports club, but now the whole atmosphere of the building will change."

Hart-Spencer's surveyor, Paul England, said the eight parking spaces at the building would only be for staff, with customers having to park at the nearby Angel car park.

He believed the design of the building's roof and windows would create privacy and stop any sound from the club carrying to any of the George Maltings homes.

Waveney District Council's rural area development control committee will decide the issue Wednesday.

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