Felixstowe: New �1m medical centre set for go-ahead

PROPOSALS for a new �1million state-of-the-art medical centre on the edge of Felixstowe are today set for the go-ahead – despite being against policy.

Planners are prepared to break their rules, saying an exception can be made because it will be for the greater good of the community.

Doctors at the town’s Central Surgery have put forward the plan for the health centre and pharmacy on a 1.5-acre paddock next to The Grove and Abbey Grove woodlands.

Objectors are urging councillors to reject the project, saying it would be an “absolute travesty” to put the two-storey centre on a greenfield site.

Planning case officer Liz Beighton said it was felt an exception could be made to policy because of “the significant community benefits that would ensue”.

She said: “The proposal will improve the range of services which people can currently access in Felixstowe and be available for all residents regardless of what surgery they are and will be registered with.

“The design is considered appropriate for its setting and impacts on amenities of neighbouring properties is not significant. Neither is it felt that granting planning permission will set a precedent for further development.”

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In a statement, the doctors said: “The primary aim of the Grove Medical Centre is to provide premises that have sufficient capacity for our own patients and by allowing more clinicians to consult simultaneously will improve access to appointments.

“The present site is too small to house the re-development and is not in the sole ownership of the Central Surgery doctors, making its future availability uncertain.

“It would be impossible to see patients on the existing site whilst any re-development is in progress and temporary accommodation on another site would be very expensive and unsatisfactory.”

Members of Suffolk Coastal’s development control south area sub committee will make the decision on the project next Tuesday.

Central Surgery in Hamilton Road has been described as Suffolk’s “poorest quality surgery premises” – cramped, cold, decaying and leaking, yet used to care for 16,000 patients.