Council warned that 'vital community health services will be lost' if Bury St Edmunds plans refused
A council has been warned that Bury St Edmunds will lose 'vital' community healthcare services if it refuses a planning application.
Community Dental Services (CDS) was granted permission in January to set up a dental clinic at Saxon House, in Hillside Road, and now wants to share the building with Suffolk Community Healthcare,
Both services operated from Blomfield House, in Looms Lane, until their leases were terminated in October last year because the landlord, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, decided the building was 'no longer fit for purpose and refurbishment was unviable', according to a planning statement.
In a letter to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Craig Black, of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said the community healthcare services have since been delivered from temporary sites 'which are wholly unsatisfactory for patients and staff and cannot be seen as a permanent solution'.
He said the trust, CDS and NHS England have been unable to find properties closer to the centre of Bury.
If planning permission cannot be secured, vital community healthcare services will be lost from the borough altogether - Alison Reid, of CDS
However, the authority has recommended that councillors refuse the application for Saxon House, which includes plans for five extra parking spaces taking the total to 36.
In a report to the development control committee, it cited the 'loss of designated employment land/premises and that the site 'does not benefit from good public transport and/or walking access'.
It said there would be a 'severe under-allocation of on-site parking' which could 'lead to inappropriate on-street parking'.
The report also noted that authorities and agencies are working on plans to co-locate public and community services through projects such as the Mildenhall Hub and at Western Way, in Bury.
In a letter to the council, Alison Reid, chief executive ofCDS, said refusal will 'result in the high quality jobs the proposals will maintain being lost from Bury St Edmunds altogether'.
On the parking issue, she said: "Community healthcare providers tend to operate on a model of fewer, longer appointments requiring less patient parking."
She added: "If planning permission cannot be secured, vital community healthcare services will be lost from the borough altogether."
NHS England warned that patients from Bury could have to travel to Newmarket, Ipswich or Cambridge.
The plans will be discussed on Thursday.