Councillors approve doctors' surgery to serve patients in villages
PUBLISHED: 18:28 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:02 21 January 2019
The construction of a two-storey GP practice to serve patients in Congresbury and Yatton will go ahead.
Mendip Vale Medical Practice’s application for a surgery opposite Cadbury Garden Centre, in Smallway, for patients living in the villages was given the green light by North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee on January 9.
The Mercury reported in October when the application was turned down by councillors amid road safety concerns, despite its being recommended for approval by planning officers.
A doctors’ surgery at Smallway was deemed to be ‘the only option’, as both surgeries in the villages are too small to meet modern medical needs and have no option to expand.
Mendip Vale GP Dr Sam Partridge said: “The NHS is under increasing pressure, and GP numbers are falling, so, to remain sustainable and attractive to new GPs, you need to adapt.
“The services at Congresbury and Yatton are not up to standard, and it is vital we ensure the longevity of healthcare in the villages for future generations.
“We have spent several years exploring different options but Smallway was the best for our community. Otherwise, people would have to travel further afield for healthcare.”
Committee members had previously deemed the pavements to be too narrow and a lack of pedestrian crossing options was also criticised.
Mendip Vale responded with both a signalled crossing or a controlled illuminated-island crossing as options, but highways officers felt these provisions ‘were not justified by the volumes of future pedestrian movements’.
Cllr Ann Harley said: “This is the way we have got to go. It has been shown how great the need is for something like this for healthcare provision.”
Cllr Mark Canniford added: “I am totally in favour of this. There should be a crossing, but I don’t feel just a refuge would be suitable at night or for people with pushchairs as it is probably not safe for them. But I do not think residents will be happy if we refused this application.”
Cllr Jill Iles criticised the plan for ‘falling in the heart of the strategic gap and on undeveloped land’.
Dr Partridge exclusively told the Mercury: “We are really pleased there was strong support from the voting members, with the vast majority seeing that a new surgery will ensure safe and effective healthcare services continue to be delivered by Mendip Vale Medical Group both now and in the future for our patients.
“Also, our thanks to Cllr Tom Leimdorfer and Steve Bridger for their help and guidance in finally getting approval for this much-needed facility.
“There remains much still to be done, and we look forward to further working with our patient participation group, service users and other health care professionals in making this a success.”