Civic society 'appalled' by new health centre proposed site

Weston Rugby Club stand

Weston Rugby Club Stand at The Recreational Ground. - Credit: Mark Atherton

Plans to build a new health centre near Weston Rugby Club have drawn criticism. 

Weston Civic Society said it was pleased to hear of plans for a new health centre serving the town centre area, but the group is ‘appalled’ at the choice of location. 

The town centre has lost GP surgeries in Longton Grove Road, New Court in Boulevard, Stafford Place and Graham Road patients will move over to the new site.  

In December, Bristol North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) announced a development at Weston Rugby Club is its preferred option and hopes to work with the developer, Studio Hive, to create the health centre in one of the units that will be built on the land surrounding the club’s recreation ground in Sunnyside Road.  

MORE: Health leaders announce preferred site for new multi-million pound health centre.

A civic society spokesman said: “A replacement site east of the railway line will not be convenient to town centre residents, it is a very bizarre choice. 

“North Somerset Council has declared a climate emergency; how can they countenance a site which is only accessible to most people by car? Even to cycle there requires a climb over a railway bridge. 

“The town centre is in urgent need of revival, a health centre nearby would encourage more footfall in the High Street and surrounding area. Already there are good public transport links to the town centre, and there is car parking space.” 

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Subject to planning permission and NHS England and NHS Improvement approval of a full business case for the development, it is anticipated that the premises will be fitted out and opened in 2022.  

The CCG successfully secured ‘several million pounds’ of national NHS funding from the Sustainability Transformation Programme to develop the health centre.

It is also exploring options that would bring other health services into the facility to support patient care.  

However, the civic society has asked North Somerset Council to encourage the CCG to consider other more central sites.

The group added: “We can understand that it may be more difficult and costly to adapt existing buildings, but surely not impossible in the Sovereign Centre. 

“If a brownfield site is required surely the former police station and Victoria Methodist church site could be considered, or even Dolphin Square.  

“We ask that you urgently insist that the CCG should reconsider the choice of site.” 

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