Time running out for proposed Stansted health centre

ANOTHER potential stumbling block in the never-ending saga of Stansted’s much-needed health centre emerged at a residents’ meeting last Friday.

There is concern that time may be running out to approve the plans, because the �6million agreed by West Essex Primary Care Trust to fund the scheme may no longer be available next year.

With PCTs due to be replaced by clinical commissioning groups (CCG) from 2013, a senior partner at the existing health centre in St John’s Road said it was likely funding for the project would be reviewed if a contract were not signed by that date.

Dr Susan Humphrey said: “CCGs will take over in 2013, and it is likely all work in progress will be reviewed.

“If we have not signed up to a scheme by then, I’m not sure whether the �6m promised will still be available.”

However, the chairman of the parish council, Geoffrey Sell, said it was important that the planning process was not rushed, even though it was clear that residents were desperate for a new medical centre to be built.

“We are all desperate to have a new health centre in the village but we must make sure the development is right and proper, and one that residents will be happy with for generations to come,” he said.

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A decision by Uttlesford District Council over proposals for a mixed-use development submitted by Pelham Structures is expected to be made on March 7.

There has been confusion over whether or not a footpath crossing is needed to improve pedestrian safety – an issue that is currently being discussed by planning officers at the district council, Essex Highways and a planning consultant for Pelham Structures.

• According to the director of Pelham Structures, Bill Bampton, the firm is currently in discussions with the Co-op, Boots and other retailers about occupying the retail unit in the mixed-use Stansted medical centre development.