Work on the construction of a new MS Therapy Centre on a site between Bradley Stoke Way and Wheatfield Drive finally got underway this week after years of funding crises and planning wrangles.
The first planning application for the centre was made in September 2001 but this was not approved until June 2007, subject to a clause that required access to the site be from Bradley Stoke Way only.
Funding issues then meant that little happened until a revised planning application was submitted in June 2009. This was followed in February 2010 by a further application for the construction of a respite centre on the same site.
The 2010 application caused controversy because it altered the proposed access for the site to be from Wheatfield Drive rather than Bradley Stoke Way. South Gloucestershire Councilllors refused permission for the change in access arrangements but their decision was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate in August 2010.
The BBC announced on 13th May this year that construction of the MS Therapy Centre would start “by the end of May” and the media were subsequently notified that a ceremonial first sod-cutting would take place on Tuesday 31st May.
However, the ceremony was cancelled a few days later, with the centre’s PR agency saying the event had “been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances relating to a last minute administrative issue, which is due to be resolved within the next 2 or 3 weeks.”
The delay is believed to be related to the discharge of conditions attached to the planning permission, which include a requirement on the contractor to commission an independent survey of the Wheatfield Drive road surface prior to the commencement of construction.
South Gloucestershire Council was unable to provide a statement in time for the publication of this article to confirm that the planning conditions have now been “discharged” but this would appear to be the case as access to the site has now been opened up from a cul-de-sac in Wheatfield Drive [map] (see photo above).
Excavating machinery has now been taken onto the site and an area of turf marking the outline of the new centre has been removed.
Modular building firm Elliot has erected metal fencing around the site and its signage can also be seen at the mini-roundabout on Brook Way, from where construction traffic will enter Wheatfield Drive, although the company told the BBC that it will be dropping some materials over the fence from Bradley Stoke Way.
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