Residents celebrate dentist victory

VILLAGERS are celebrating after councillors went against their officers’ advice and backed plans for a new dental surgery.

Planning officers at Forest Heath District Council had called for plans for the new surgery in Boundary Road, Red Lodge, to be thrown out.

Instead the council’s staff said they wanted to see a dental practice set up as part of a planned new village centre development which would include a range of shops.

They claimed the Boundary Road scheme would cause “harm” to its largely residentual surroundings by having about 50 patients a day visit the proposed practice.

However, residents in the village - which has been earmarked as a key growth area in the district - backed the scheme put forward by Dr Diana Knight for Boundary Road.

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At a meeting of the council’s planning committee, members went against their officers’ recommendation and backed Dr Knight’s scheme.

Dr Knight, who runs a separate surgery in Barton Mills near Mildenhall, said she was really pleased with the council’s decision.

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“We won’t be in there before October as it has to be converted so it probably won’t be ready until November.

“I will press ahead as fast as I can. People do find it difficult to find an NHS dentist.

“We will be limited to the number of people we can take on.”

She said the surgery would begin with NHS patients but would be taking on private patients later on. It is thought the practice will eventually have about 1,500 people on its books.

Pat McCloud, Red Lodge councillor on Forest Heath, said: “It is wonderful because we’ve been waiting 15 years for something to happen like this - we’ve been promised the shops and the school, but those won’t now be built until 2012.”

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