Revised surgery expansion plans fail to impress Council officials

Bradley Stoke Surgery

The Sites Inspection West Sub Committee of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) visits Bradley Stoke Surgery in Brook Way today (Friday 13th), to assess a planning application for an extension that would see its floorspace increase by 131%.

An earlier planning application by the surgery, which would have seen the floorspace increase by a whopping 150%, was rejected by SGC planning officers in December 2007. That application has gone to appeal with the government’s Planning Inspectorate, but information obtained by The Journal suggests that a final decision could still be months away.

The revised planning application, submitted in April 2008, has also failed to impress the planning officers, who have recommended that the SGC Planning Committee refuse permission on the following grounds:

The proposed extension, by reason of its size, design and external appearance, would be out of keeping with the existing building and, if allowed, would result in a cramped form of development that would have a detrimental effect on the streetscene …

Today’s site inspection was requested by SGC Councillor Sarah Pomfret, who also sits on Bradley Stoke Town Council. Doctor Elizabeth Todd, the practice’s senior partner and Julian Barge, the practice’s manager, are also members of the Town Council.

Expansion of the Brook Way surgery forms part of South Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust’s (PCT) plan to enhance healthcare provision in Bradley Stoke. The PCT made the following statement to The Journal after the original planning application had been rejected:

The PCT Board supported the individual GP practice plans for development in Bradley Stoke. We are aware that one proposal has been turned down when initially submitted for planning. The PCT is therefore working with all the practices to ensure that the necessary service developments proceed as proposed for the area.

The PCT had previously planned to construct a new health centre on land at Savages Wood Road, which had been offered to it at a “knockdown” price by SGC [see earlier report in The Journal], but changed course in 2006 when it announced it would instead invest in expansion of three existing health centres already serving the town.

With the Brook Way expansion plans in jeopardy, The Journal has pressed the PCT to reveal details of its plans for expansion at other surgeries serving the town, but it has refused to release any further information.

Meanwhile, the land previously reserved for a new health centre at Savages Wood Road lies vacant. Possible disposal of the land was listed on an agenda for a meeting of the SGC cabinet on 12th May, but a source at SGC’s Property Services department told The Journal that the matter could not be discussed because the PCT had not yet informed the Council of its intentions regarding the land.

Users of the overstretched GP services in Bradley Stoke are unlikely to be impressed by this sorry saga.

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