New surgery heads for final approval

FINAL details of a £5 million development to transform one of Woodbridge's best-known sites and create a one-stop medical centre have been submitted to planners for approval.

FINAL details of a £5 million development to transform one of Woodbridge's best-known sites and create a one-stop medical centre have been submitted to planners for approval.

But the design has been criticised for looking “more like a retail shed than a doctors' surgery”.

For more than a year architects have been designing the scheme for the Notcutts site, while negotiations have been taking place with partners involved in the project and contractors.

Councillors approved the principle of the development in 2004. It will see the garden centre refurbished and extended, a new medical centre built, housing, parking, and public open space.

A new roundabout will also be constructed on Ipswich Road to provide access to the development.

There had been fears the housing could be built before the medical centre with the potential risk the centre might never be built.

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“As things have turned out, it is the medical centre part of the development that is the most advanced in terms of design and planning,” said a report to members of Suffolk Coastal's south area development control sub committee.

“It is understood the necessary funding is now in place for the medical centre and the applicants are anxious to commence that development as soon as all the necessary consents are in place.”

The medical centre for the Framfield House surgery will be a two-storey building with a floor space of 1,600 sq metres.

There will be 13 consulting rooms, treatment rooms, nursing clinics, dispensary, dentist's, optician's, pharmacy, three physiotherapy rooms, podiatry, a common room, kitchen, library, meeting room, and offices for social services and the primary care trust.

The provision of new clinics will reduce the number of referrals to hospital and there will be training for medical students.

The existing surgery has nine full-time and 30 part-time staff. The proposed development will involve one additional full-time member of staff and a further 15 part-time staff.

Planning officers have welcomed the contemporary design and do not share the view of objectors who say it would be better off on an industrial site.

“Clearly, there is no one single design solution for this site. The applicants have chosen a particular design solution, but other designers could well have arrived at a radically different, but no less valid, design,” said the report.

Will the new surgery be good for the town? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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