Stephen Sumner Weston Mercury Published: July 24, 2021
Building a new health centre marooned on the edge of Weston is ‘unacceptable’, councillors have said.
Plans are being drawn up for a new £3.2million hub in Sunnyside Road to serve 15,000 patients as part of the redevelopment of Weston Rugby Club.
Following concerns about the lack of public transport links, talks are underway on ways to improve accessibility before the planning application is submitted next month.
North Somerset Council’s health overview and scrutiny panel chairman, Ciaran Cronnelly, said in a report: “Sunnyside Road, by itself, is not suitable for public transport as there is no turnaround for a bus.
“In effect this will be a health centre marooned on the outskirts of Weston if the current plan remains in place – this is not acceptable.”
The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group has described the rugby club as ‘the ideal location’ for a state-of-the-art new GP surgery – beating other sites including the town’s former court and the roof of the Sovereign Shopping Centre.
Developer Studio Hive’s plans for the rugby club include commercial units and 200 homes, and the council also wants to build a school.
Mr Cronnelly’s report said an access road through the site would be possible but may mean fewer houses can be built or the school has to move.
Speaking at the scrutiny panel’s meeting on July 19, he said: “It is entirely feasible to serve the site with public transport but that does require everyone to work in partnership to get it revised and reconfigured.
“If nothing changes and access to public transport isn’t incorporated into the site we wouldn’t be comfortable with supporting that.”
The wider site is being redeveloped by Studio Hive. The panel called on it and the CCG to work together to reconfigure the plans to allow access by public transport.
A CCG spokesman said: “We’re continuing to work with the site’s developer and NSC to refine proposals for a state of the art health facility on the Weston Rugby Club site. This will be designed to support more people with a range of new services in the community.
“The regeneration of this area offers an exciting opportunity for the town and we are pleased to be playing our part in bringing it to life.”