THE delay to Westbury’s new primary care development – caused by a councillor’s last minute objection to the redirection of a footpath – has cost the project around £140,000.
Building work on the £5million surgery should have been under way last month but the objection means a new planning application has had to be submitted, and building work is now expected to start in September.
Debbie Riddiford, managing partner of Eastleigh Surgery who is leading the development explained, “The additional costs of the delay and the amended application are approximately £140,000. These costs relate to professional fees such as architects, planning consultants and solicitors. Also, there are substantial additional construction costs now that the building has needed to be moved on the site and the cost of materials has increased. We have also incurred significant interest costs.”
Eastleigh Surgery has also expressed concern that the delay could jeopardise services provided by the primary care development, with funding from the NHS in a precarious position as they face sizable budget cuts. The additional costs of the delay will have to be taken out of the development’s own budget – meaning that savings could have to be made from the planned services.
The surgery is now emphasising the critical importance of getting onto site in September. Many of the prices for building contracts and materials are only fixed until then, while building regulations are also set to change.
Debbie Riddiford said, “The main concern for us is that as time moves on, the position with some NHS services may become more precarious and it is so important that we start on site with everything signed and sealed as soon as possible in September. The PCT have been very clear that there won’t be an opportunity like this again in Westbury for many years.”
Cllr Francis Morland, Westbury town and Wiltshire councillor who made the objection to the footpath redirection, has refused to comment on his reasons for doing so. He was not present when the new planning application went before the town council’s highways, planning, and development committee on Monday 18th July, where councillors agreed to “enthusiastically support” the application.
White Horse News has tried to contact him without success.
Westbury’s £5million Primary Care Development will combine the Eastleigh and White Horse Surgeries, with a new centre at Mane Way, Leigh Park. The proposed services include eight GPs from the existing surgeries, nurses and nurse practitioners, antenatal and postnatal care, five treatment areas, a minor operations suite, a mobile diagnostics centre, an outpatient X-ray facility and a dental surgery.
The surgery must now await planning permission from Wiltshire Council before they can start work on the site.