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Plans for replacement GP surgery in Burnham Market given green light

Plans to build a new medical centre with a dementia suite in a West Norfolk village have been approved by the borough council’s planning committee.

The meeting, held in Lynn yesterday, heard that the site of the current GP surgery in Burnham Market is “not fit for purpose”, leaving patients “at risk of losing their surgery”.

Dr David Ince, a GP at The Burnhams Surgery on Church Walk, said there had been “overwhelming support” in favour of a replacement practice, to be built on land off of Joan Shorts Lane and Creake Road.

Plans for a replacement GP surgery in Burnham Market have been approved.
Plans for a replacement GP surgery in Burnham Market have been approved.

He said: “My patients need a new surgery. If this application is not successful they are at risk of losing their GP surgery.”

“Our current site is not fit for purpose, we have looked at developing our current site but it is too small and it would not get NHS approval,” Dr Ince added.

The application has secured NHS funding, which Dr Ince said would be lost if the plans were not approved.

He added: “We have had overwhelming support from residents who have lost banks, the baker and the pharmacy in the village – we will be next if this does not move forward.”

An access road, car parking and a dementia/wellness garden also form part of the proposals.

Samantha Sandell, councillor for Burnham Market, said she is a patient at The Burnhams Surgery and agreed that a new building was needed.

“I fully endorse the comments that it isn’t fit for purpose and is out-dated – they work in extremely cramped conditions,” she said.

Miss Sandell said there was “no room” for expansion on the current site, and hoped the plans might be positive for elderly residents, as many of them travel to Lynn for appointments.

But concerns were raised by some members of the planning committee regarding the design of the new building, and whether the bus route through the village stops close enough to the new site.

Bob Lawton said he was worried that the nearest stop on the bus route would be a “fair walk” to the surgery.

The lack of “local characteristics” included in the design of the new building was a disappointment for Jim Moriarty.

He said: “I would like to see some element of flint or something sufficient for it to fit in with the local character.”

Chairman Chris Crofts said: “I feel very strongly that the design could be better and more in keeping with the whole street.”

But Sandra Squire said that flint is “very expensive”.

“The community needs a surgery and I would rather the NHS spends money on their patients than on some flint,” she added.

Members decided against proposing to defer the application and voted unanimously to approve the plans.

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