I must confess I am utterly flabbergasted that NHS England and the council are seriously supporting a move of the St James’ Walks Surgery to Kilhams Way.
There are a number of obvious reasons why this a very bad idea. First and foremost, the proposed site at Kilhams Way has a history of being seriously contaminated and is also surrounded by heavy industries that manufacture highly toxic chemicals. It is public knowledge that a survey carried out in 1999 by a national newspaper found that 25 per cent of women who worked or lived in Kilhams Way area had breast cancer. So how on earth can NHS England consider moving a major health centre to this site? Secondly, such a move would seriously disadvantage the people of South Lynn who would find it much more difficult to access Kilhams Way, right on the other side of town. The only other reasonable alternative for South Lynners would then be Southgates Surgery, but I am sure that surgery would be unable to cope with the sudden surge of new applications from South Lynn. Is NHS England aware that South Lynn is still officially designated as one of the most deprived areas in eastern England? Thankfully the NORA regeneration land is going a long way to address this and has benefited from strong Labour and Conservative support. And yet South Lynn does not have its own surgery.
The interesting thing is that quite recently the Southgates Surgery was actually all set to relocate to a purpose-built site in South Lynn, but at the last moment, sadly the plan was shelved. Yet the obvious place to relocate a town centre surgery is the NORA regeneration land at South Lynn. The council spent £6million to clean up this site. Like the South Lynn Fire Station it has superb access to most of the major roads. The lack of proper parking is a real problem for all the town centre surgeries so one at NORA would address that issue. Some of the land is owned by the council, and after 15 years of trying, they, too, are desperate to find uses for this land. I would urge NHS England and the council to look at the NORA option again.
Wisbech Road, South Lynn