Ambitious plans to merge four doctor’s surgeries into one “purpose-built facility” have been labelled “totally unsuitable” by angry councillors in Walsall .
NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants to build a state-of-the-art new health centre on Lower Forster Street, where the former Jabez Clift leatherworks factory once stood.
The plan proposes to move Lichfield Street Surgery, Sycamore House Surgery, The Limes Surgery and Saddlers Medical Centre into the £8million facility.
However, fuming Paddock ward councillors Gurmeet Sohal, Rose Martin and Peter Washbrook have since set up a petition to block proposals amid concerns regarding its location.
Cllr Sohal told the Walsall Advertiser : “We’re not against a new health centre but the location is a nightmare for people to get to.
“The majority of residents in my ward are elderly and they would struggle to get here. I really feel sorry for people. There’s no public transport close to the site and it’s off a busy main road.”
While Cllr Rose added: “A blind man on a galloping horse could see that the Jabez site is completely unacceptable for a health centre.”
In a joint statement to Walsall residents, the petition reads: “We, the undersigned, oppose development of a health facility at the former Jabez Cliff factory, Lower Forster Street, Walsall.
“The lack of parking, being on a main road junction in Walsall town centre, with the congestion and resulting pollution, the lack of direct public transport links with no opportunity to deliver those links make this site totally unsuitable for the development of a health facility.
“The access to this site for emergency vehicles, on a one-way system, will be restricted and dangerous.”
If successful, the merge would affect more than 20,000 patients registered at the four named surgeries.
A public consultation is currently ongoing with residents encouraged to put their views forward by Saturday, January 20 .
Dr Martin Stevens, GP partner at Lichfield Street, Sycamore House and The Limes Surgeries, said: “We have developed an exciting proposal to relocate the surgeries to a brand new, purpose-built facility in Lower Forster Street.
“We believe that moving to larger, modern premises will significantly improve the environment for patients and staff, and help us to improve services for patients.
“Bringing a range of organisations under one roof and increasing the size of the practices will mean we will be able to cater for the long term population growth and also help care for our ever growing aging population. I would encourage patient’s at all four practices to have their say on the proposal.”