New Eastbourne medical centre approved at former Old Town bowling green

The former bowls club
The former bowls club

The final designs for an Old Town medical centre have been given the go-ahead by Eastbourne planners.

At a meeting on Tuesday (August 28), Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee approved plans to build a new medical centre on the former site of the Victoria Drive Bowling Green.

The new surgery, which is to replace the current Green Street Clinic and Enys Road Surgery facilities, had been granted outline planning permission in 2016, with the final designs approved this week.

Before making a decision, the committee heard representations from ward councillor John Ungar (Lib Dem) and Dr Mark Gaffney of the Green Street Clinic, who both spoke in support of the application.

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Cllr Ungar said, “The outline planning permission which went through was very good but since then there has been a lot of work going into redesigning the building and ensuring … it is viable in terms of the street scene.

“There is always in this part of Old Town a parking problem and this is going to go some way to solving it. Currently the Green Street Surgery doesn’t have any parking. There are a few parking spaces outside but there is no patient parking. Currently a patient will have to drive or get a lift and will take up a parking space.

“When I talk to the traders nearby they say, ‘I’m glad to see there is parking there. I’m also glad it is going to increase our footfall.’

“The surgery isn’t only going to benefit the community in medical terms, it will benefit the business community too.”

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Meanwhile Dr Gaffney told the committee how Green Street Clinic facilities are under pressure – as it has around 11,000 registered patients – and Enys Road is in a ‘similar situation’.

Dr Gaffney said, “It is a practice that many years ago was very, very able but over time has just got busier and busier, with more and more patients joining with much more complex diseases and conditions.

“We have finally gotten to the stage over that 30 year period where we can no longer deliver the services we need to in the building we have got, which is basically three small terraced houses.”

He also told councillors how full funding for the scheme has now been secured from NHS England and that the construction was considered as ‘crucial, from a medical point of view’.

The committee also heard a report from officers on how the developer would be providing £48,500 for a range of transport changes in the area as part of a s.106 agreement.

Following a short discussion the application was unanimously approved.

Planners also approved a separate application to provide more parking spaces on the medical centre site.