Hundreds of angry residents in Walsall have signed a petition against plans to build a new £8 million health centre in the town centre.

Councillors Gurmeet Sohal, Rose Martin and Peter Washbrook, who have been leading the campaign, are desperate for NHS Walsall CCG to rethink their strategy and instead house a new facility in Broadway North.

As reported previously , health bosses have lodged proposals to merge four doctors’ surgeries into a new centre where the Jabez Clift leatherworks factory once stood.

Speaking this week, Cllr Sohal told the Advertiser : “So far 1,390 people have signed the petition against the move.

How the new health centre could look in Lower Forster Street if plans are approved
How the new health centre could look in Lower Forster Street if plans are approved

“Residents want the new medical centre to be housed within the community it is meant to serve and prefer the Broadway North CA site next to the Toby Carvery as opposed to this site.

“The Broadway North site is in the community and has good transport links with a bus route nearby.

“The council has deemed this building as surplus to requirements and now want to sell that site to the highest bidder.

“This site is brilliant for a medical centre as it is local to St Matthews, Chuckery, Brookhouse and Park Hall.

“The sentiments of residents in Paddock ward are that if the new surgery is not at the Broadway North site then they would prefer to keep their doctors where they are now.”

Cllr Gurmeet Sohal with his petition
Cllr Gurmeet Sohal with his petition

Cllr Sohal also criticised Walsall CCG’s proposed site in Lower Forster Street, labelling it as a “nightmare”.

He added: “It is not in an ideal place in the town, that’s for sure. It’s a potential nightmare because of the two hills it’s placed on plus people will have to drive right through the town because of the one-way system.

“It is in a deprived area too and not many people have access to cars. I am fully against this site!”

A public meeting will be held at the Royal Hotel in Abelwell Street on Monday, January 29 (7pm start).