Concern over future of former surgery

PEOPLE living near a former doctor's surgery in Ipswich have objected to it becoming accommodation for people with mental health problems.

PEOPLE living near a former doctor's surgery in Ipswich have objected to it becoming accommodation for people with mental health problems.

At a meeting organised by councillor John Cook, more than 50 residents of Hatfield Road and the surrounding area opposed a change of use application for the site.

Planning bosses at Ipswich Borough Council have until early November to listen to objections before deciding whether the former surgery will be converted into flats for people who require short-term and medium-term care.

A tenant has yet to be found for the empty surgery since operations moved to the Ravenswood area in August 2006.

Mr Cook met more than 50 of his Priory Heath constituents to listen to concerns and to advise them on planning objection procedure.

He has since requested another public meeting with planning officers and hopes to persuade the applicant to also attend.

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He said: “People are opposed to the application for a variety of reasons but some of that objection may subside if the plans were made clearer.

“I think it would be beneficial for them to hear from the applicant.”

The application also includes staff accommodation and an extension to the rear of the building which will provide a dayroom for residents to socialise in.

Mr Cook added: “The number of objections represents a lot of people living in the Hatfield and Levington Road areas who have raised a variety of concerns, not least that the area is already heavily developed and the applicant wants to further develop it.”

Do you support or oppose the application? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk