Sovereign Shopping Centre or old police station could house new £3.2million town centre health hub
PUBLISHED: 09:34 26 September 2019
Plans to create a multi-million pound health hub in Weston-super-Mare town centre have moved a step closer.
A trio of North Somerset Council-owned building and sites - Sovereign Shopping Centre, former magistrates' court and close to the demolished police station - are all being considered as potential locations for a £3.2million health centre.
Three other privately-owned sites are being considered.
Health bosses aim to move into the site by the end of next year.
Mike Bell, the council's deputy leader, told the Mercury: "I don't think it's a secret the Sovereign Shopping Centre is being looked at by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as one of the potential options for town centre primary care facilities, so I think it is about what opportunities we've got to subsidise some of the units and use pop up shops.
"We are already seeing the re-imagining of some of its uses and the wider benefit of owning the Sovereign Shopping Centre in town centre regeneration, with Citizens Advice Bureau now set up with a unit, for example."
The council agreed a deal for the mall in August last year worth £21million and expected it will receive £1.1million a year on the rental income from the investment.
The six-storey police station was demolished in June to be replaced with a block of high-quality apartments.
Patients of Clarence Park and Graham Road surgeries will eventually be housed in the site after the two merged on Tuesday.
The new primary care hub will be created through NHS England funding.
In a newsletter to Clarence Park patients, Dr John Heather from the Pier Health Group said health bosses have been 'working hard to find a way of reducing the pressure on Graham Road when we all move into that site'.
He added: "We believe we have found a helpful interim solution while the town centre development is completed.
"The CCG is on track to make an announcement of the preferred options of where it may be sited by the end of September.
"The estimated timescale for the building to be complete to allow us to move in is still winter 2020/21."
The shortlist of six possible sites for the primary care centre will be revealed on Monday.