New Hailsham medical centre could be approved this week

Plans for a new medical centre in Hailsham
Plans for a new medical centre in Hailsham

A new medical centre for Hailsham could be approved by Wealden planners later this week.

Developers are seeking full planning permission to build a ‘state-of-the-art’ medical centre and pharmacy on empty land opposite Reef Way.

While recommended for approval, the proposed scheme has proven controversial with some neighbours who say the design is inappropriate due to difficulty accessing the site.

A final decision on the application – which was granted outline planning permission in 2010 as part of a larger residential development  – is expected to be made by Wealden District Council’s planning committee south on Thursday (October 11).

In a planning statement submitted as part of the application, a spokesman for the developers said: “The new medical centre will allow the relocation and co-location of the existing GP facilities provided by Hailsham Medical Group and Bridgeside Surgery.

“The proposed development will increase the capacity of the two GP surgeries from 16,000 patients (albeit their current patient lists extend to nearly 20,000) to over 25,000 patients.

“Having a pharmacy within the building will also enable patients to obtain prescriptions or other medication conveniently.

“The proposed development is considered to fully accord with relevant local and national planning policies as contained in the adopted development plan and the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) revision.

“The planning balance is therefore overwhelmingly in favour of the grant of planning permission.”

Wealden planners have received 14 letters of objection to the scheme, with concerns focusing on the impact of the medical centre on surrounding properties and the road network.

Objectors also raised concerns over the building’s design, which is to be a two-storey and three-storey mix.

Planners are also to consider representations from Hailsham Town Council, which  has raised concerns about some of the details of the scheme but does not object.

In a statement submitted to planners, a town council spokesman said: “The town council is concerned that a private investor is involved in the provision of a new medical centre when the land has been gifted and the CCG have paid for the build.

“Although the town council considers a better location should be sought, such as the location of the old ambulance station in London Road, this is a much needed and long-awaited facility for the town.

“The impact on local traffic, drainage, impact on local residents, lack of parking and lack of public transport access should all be taken into account when the location of this application is considered.”

The town council also asks planners to consider the overall design of the building and to impose a condition requiring more disabled parking spaces if the application is to be approved.

Further details of the application can be found by searching for planning reference WD/2018/1806/MAJ on the Wealden District Council website.

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