£5 million King's Lynn surgery relocation proposal submitted
Details of the proposed multi-million pound relocation of a Lynn doctors' surgery have been released this afternoon.
The St James Medical Practice has now submitted a formal planning application for a new facility, which is expected to cost around £5 million, on land off the northern part of Edward Benefer Way.
And officials hope the new building could be open late next year if planning permission is granted by West Norfolk Council.
The proposed building would replace the practice's current base in County Court Road, where it has operated for at least 50 years.
Officials say it will offer more consulting rooms, state-of-the-art equipment, better training facilities and free parking for more than 90 vehicles.
Practice manager Kathy Foley said today: "Our current surgery is not fit for purpose due to its restricted size and layout.
"There have been issues with drainage and it is draughty and damp. It is not suitable for our present and future needs.
"We are striving to provide the best possible care for our patients, and we need a modern fit-for-purpose building where our staff can train and work and offer a new and expanded range of clinical services.
"Experience shows us people who train and qualify in Norfolk are more likely to remain."
If planning permission is granted, it is hoped that work will begin later this year and be completed by November of 2022.
The practice has sought a new site for several years, although some fear the move will make it harder for patients on low incomes or without their own transport to access the care they need.
Last month, the St Margarets and St Nicholas Ward Forum revealed it, together with a cross-party group of councillors and the former Lynn News editor Malcolm Powell, had written to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, calling for a new dedicated practice to be developed in South Lynn before any move takes place.
But the practice says it "closely examined" 16 other sites closer to the town centre which were not suitable for a new surgery.
And Ian Gutteridge, chairman of the St James patient participation group, said the practice was planning to have discussions with local transport operators to help find a solution.
He said "every effort" will be made to support patients who need help to get to the new site.
He added: "Members understand the shortcomings of the present building and recognise the need for a high-quality facility to expand primary care services.
"It will bring benefits in terms of the breadth of services in one convenient, modern location.
"This development is long overdue, and we support the practice team and its professional advisers who are making this happen."