One-stop health centre set for go-ahead
PLANS for a new one-stop health centre at Saxmundham have been given the go-ahead - provided flood risk fears are overcome.Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee which met yesterday was strongly supportive of the plans.
By Sarah Chambers
PLANS for a new one-stop health centre at Saxmundham have been given the go-ahead - provided flood risk fears are overcome.
Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee which met yesterday was strongly supportive of the plans.
The scheme has been backed by local parish councils, and 450 letters of support from local residents received.
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Councillors approved a recommendation that they should back proposals to create an integrated health and social care centre on land next to the sports ground on the old A12.
But it will be subject to resolving the objection initially raised by the Environment Agency - which voiced concern about potential flood risk.
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The Environment Agency is expected to respond to a flood risk assessment carried out on behalf of the GPs in the next couple of weeks.
Councillors heard that just a small area of the site was liable to flood when looking at a one-in-a-hundred year event, and even allowing for global warming.
If the Agency withdraws its objection, the project can go ahead. If it does not, the proposals will go back to the committee for further consideration.
Some councillors wanted to give the project an unprovisional green light yesterday, but were persuaded by Director of Planning Jeremy Schofield that the Environment Agency as a statutory consultee, should be given time to give their view.
The centre will include an ambulance station, a creche, a base for Suffolk Doctors On Call and space for social services, physiotherapists, optician, dentist, a dispensary and a surgery.
It is set to replace the town's Lambsale Meadow surgery, which GPs say is outgrowing the site.
Dr John Havard, a partner at the Saxmundham surgery, said he was “delighted” by the committee's support, but “frustrated” at the delay.
“I have been doing this for 15 months. It's just frustrating that it's taken so long but I'm still delighted that the committee approved the project in principle,” he said.
“This decision lays a solid foundation for closer working between the primary care trust and the district council that now share the same boundaries and so serve the same people,” he added.
He thanked the 450 local individuals who wrote in support of the project, as well as the 14 town and parish councils which backed it.