West Essex PCT reveal central location for Stansted’s new health centre

STANSTED’S 10-year battle to get a new doctor’s surgery in the village centre took a massive step forward this week after health bosses finally revealed their preferred location.

At a low-key public meeting on Monday, NHS West Essex chief executive Catherine O’Connell announced that their ideal site would be Castle Sportscars in Lower Street. The existing car sales business would relocate to Parsonage Farm Industrial Estate.

If all goes to plan work on the new health centre – which would boast surgery, clinic and NHS dentist – would commence in 2011 with completion by 2013.

Mrs O’Connell, said: “I am thrilled to be able to announce this news.

“It is always difficult to get to a decision that pleases everyone. We listened to local people and now we have a solution that most people will be happy with.”

However, with the impending abolishment of PCTs expected by 2013 the timeframe is short and West Essex has made it clear to the developers of the Lower Street site that they expect to see substantial progress made by the end of this year. This will include submitting a planning application to Uttlesford District Council.

If progress is not made then they would commit resources to develop the Foresthall Park site at Walson Way.

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Stansted Parish Council chairman, Cllr Geoffrey Sell, said: “I am quite positive – the PCT has made a decision and it has a preferred location in the centre of the village.

“It has also made it quite clear that it expects the developer of the Castle Sportscars site to make substantial progress before the end of this year. I have met the developers they are keen to make progress on the site.”

On the back-up location, he added: “The PCT is right to run the Foresthall Park in parallel. What we cannot afford is not to have a health centre. The PCT will be going out of existence in 2013 and we need to have this project completed, or near completed, before then.”

Cllr Sell did point out however, that a major obstacle to the Lower Street site could be the potential increase in traffic congestion.

“It is estimated that the health centre will generate 400 traffic movements a day, not taking into account the retail and residential which is also proposed for the site,” he said. “At peak times Chapel Hill and Lower Street are very congested. I will be interested to see their traffic flow assessment.”

Is the PCT’s preferred location an ideal site for Stansted’s new health centre? E-mail us at editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk

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