Plans for a new GP practice and dentist in a Gloucestershire town have been given the green light. Minchinhampton Surgery has been given permission by Stroud District Council to build the new medical center on land north of Cirencester Road.
The new medical center will have a total area of 10,613.2 square feet and is designed to accommodate more than 8,000 patients in the same catchment area as the existing practice in downtown Minchinhampton.
The ground floor will include 18 consultation/treatment rooms and associated facilities such as a reception/waiting area, administrative and store rooms as well as accommodation for dentists. Access to the practice will be from Cirencester Road, approximately halfway along the southern boundary of the existing field.
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And the practice will have a total of 71 parking spaces and a dedicated drop-off/ambulance area. Ward Councilor Chloe Turner (G, Minchinhampton), speaking at this week’s Development Control Committee, said it was a difficult planning application to consider.
She said she did not dispute the need for the operation, but the location of the site is very sensitive. “I would have opposed it myself if not for the sustainability efforts.”
A resident who spoke out against the plans said they go against local planning policies and people will have to drive to the medical center instead of walking as they currently do.
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He said it would be possible to redevelop and reuse the existing Bell Lane building. He said: “If development beyond the boundaries of the settlement is permitted, a precedent would be set allowing further development of adjacent fields.
“Rather than destroying a pristine site, surely it makes more sense to redevelop and retain the medical office in the city center where it is equally accessible to all residents.”
The surgery doctors explained why they needed another surgery. Dr Susie Weir said there had been one doctor in Minchinhampton since the NHS was established.
She said the current building is now 50 years old and the number of staff and patients has grown exponentially. She said: ‘We are packed, these rooms are small and not suitable. We want to provide a better environment for our patients.
Dr Tristan Cooper said the layout of the new medical center had been given considerable thought so that it could be adapted to future health emergencies such as a pandemic. He said: “In short, the new surgery will provide state-of-the-art facilities for patients and staff.”
The planning officers recommended approval of the proposals. And the committee voted to do so by six to one.