New medical centre in doubt

HOPES of a new modern medical centre, as part of a £5 million-plus redevelopment in the heart of Woodbridge, today suffered a setback.Town councillors are recommending refusal of the revised scheme put forward for the Notcutts garden centre site.

HOPES of a new modern medical centre, as part of a £5 million-plus redevelopment in the heart of Woodbridge, today suffered a setback.

Town councillors are recommending refusal of the revised scheme put forward for the Notcutts garden centre site.

At a packed meeting of the plans committee, councillors voiced renewed concerns about the project - and felt it was still against policy and should be rejected.

Town clerk Chris Walker said the committee feared that if such a major development was allowed to override the local plan, then it would open the floodgates for others to follow suit.


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Doctors at Framfield House surgery have joined forces with Notcutts to redevelop the garden centre in Ipswich Road and land beyond.

The scheme would feature a new £2m health centre to replace the substandard and ageing surgery.

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The GPs say the surgery, a Grade II* listed building, barely copes now with its 10,000 patients and would struggle to cope with an expected influx of 800 people when Woodbridge Airfield has a new barracks.

Previous plans for the garden centre were rejected in February when more than 360 people objected, fearing the scheme would destroy the town's conservation area.

It is hoped the new scheme will overcome the concerns of planners at Suffolk Coastal.

It aims to provide significant community benefits, including the medical centre, public open space on the Ipswich Road frontage, and retention of woodlands.

Two areas of housing are proposed - sheltered housing below Warren Hill Road, and then 28 flats, 30 per cent of them affordable housing, at the rear of the site.

The medical centre will include a surgery, pharmacy, enhanced services in musculo-skeletal medicine and possibly dermatology, cardiology, and ear, nose and throat medicine.

There would also be midwifery, district nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, giving people the chance to access services locally rather than travel to hospital.

Notcutts would modernise and extend their garden centre.

But town councillors say the scheme is contrary to policy, which does not identify the garden centre site for homes or a medical centre.

Policy says the garden centre could be extended or the land used for developments such as offices or a hotel. Any scheme should not harm the character of what is one of the most important and sensitive sites in the town.

What do you think - should homes and a medical centre be allowed? What would you like to see happen? Write to Your Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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