Setback for Halesworth centre after surgery reviews needs to cope with future population growth

Proposals for a new £710,000 resource centre for people with life-limiting illnesses in north Suffolk have suffered a setback – and fresh plans will have to be drawn up.

Following a highly-successful fundraising campaign, work was due to start on the Halesworth Community Nursing Care Fund information and support centre (ISC) before the end of the year.

But officials now say there are technical issues around access to services such as electricity and drainage, plus complications over the sale of the land because the surgery selling the site to the charity may now have to expand to cater for hundreds of homes that may be built in the town.

This means a delay in the building programme for the site next to Cutlers Hill Surgery in Halesworth and work will not now begin until 2018 at the earliest.

Ted Edwards, ISC chairman, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who supported our fundraising drive, and want to make sure that those who gave their time and energy so generously are kept fully informed about the delays we are facing.

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“Before building work can begin, we need permission from the adjacent landowners to be able to access the site and make use of the existing utilities, such as drainage. They have asked for some detailed surveys to take place before they grant permission, and these investigations are now under way.

“In addition, Cutlers Hill Surgery, which owns the land we are purchasing, has reviewed its position following Waveney District Council’s recent proposal to build 700 new homes in the town as part of the local plan.

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“As the surgery may need to extend its building to meet this growing demand, the shape of the plot which it is selling to the charity has changed. This means we now need to amend our scheme and submit a revised planning application to the council, which will cause an additional delay.

“We fully appreciate just how frustrating this news must be to everyone who has so kindly supported us, but remain committed to bringing this valuable facility to Halesworth as soon as we can for the benefit of people across north east Suffolk and south Norfolk.”

The ISC will serve anyone living within a 15-mile radius of Halesworth – saving them long trips to bigger centres at Ipswich or Norwich.

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