Plans go on show for Radstock’s new Health and Community Centre

By Leah Smith in Local People

Staff from Hope House Surgery, Radstock Library and representatives from the architects’ firm involved in the planning of a new community space in Radstock were overwhelmed by the amount of residents engaging in a consultation on plans to move Hope House Surgery to Waterloo Road, held last Thursday evening at Radstock Library.

Representatives from Hope House, the Library and the Radstock and Westfield Big Local were on hand to answer any questions and provide further information for the scheme which, if planning goes ahead, will see a new purpose-built community hub erected on green space along Waterloo Road, which would also

include the Children’s Centre and the Library, as well as additional services.

Hope House say the existing surgery needs to move, as it is now too small to provide all the services it needs for the growing community. As it is currently housed in a Grade II listed building, the option to extend or work on the site is not available and unless a suitable building in the town centre can be found, the surgery would likely have to move out of Radstock altogether.

Prior to settling on the space on Waterloo Road, the surgery commissioned a study to look at available plots in the town centre, but for various reasons, including wildlife, availability, contamination of land and building restrictions, as well as funding not being available during the initial regeneration plans, the only site left is on Waterloo Road.

Alison Humphery, from Hope House Surgery, said: “Obviously, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t want to take away an area of green space, but having looked at several other sites in town, it is our only option if we want to stay in Radstock. It was important to us that we remain central and near a bus stop, as many of our patients rely on public transport.

“To keep the funding from NHS England, we would need to have moved into the new surgery by 2019. We are aware that people are concerned about parking and the loss of green space, but we have designed the building to have the lowest impact and we are taking the Library and Children’s Services with us to protect them and keep them within the town.”

The plans are for a two storey building which will encompass the surgery, the

library, the Children’s Centre, a pharmacy and a number of community spaces. It is hoped, with the extra space available for surgical procedures and treatment rooms, more GPs and nurses could be attracted to the area, which would further help the already stretched service. There is also parking included in the plans (22 spaces), offering more than the current surgery, though the amount of

available parking in the town centre remains a concern.

The design has been put together in partnership with B&NES Council, GVA, GP

developments and Radstock and Westfield Big Local, who are interested in running

projects within the new space, including a community kitchen which would work with other local groups, such as the Carer’s Centre, the Children’s Centre, MIND and others to promote health and well-being, as well as being an events space. The design currently also includes a number of green spaces for the growing of fruit and vegetables, to be used in the new community kitchen.

Should the planning be approved, it would see the surgery enlarged to include twelve new clinical rooms and a minor surgical suite and will also allow for further staff training, providing patients with access to a wider range of health care. With a pharmacy on site, it will also allow doctors and pharmacists to work together. The Children’s Centre would also work alongside the surgery, providing more support for young families and it is hoped the modern library service and community spaces would also be well used, helping those needing support with digital and other skills, whilst providing the same services already offered at the current library building.

Sarah Westell, from Westfield and Radstock Big Local, said: “Should the plans go ahead, the space would be a great community hub – we would hope to have a community kitchen to promote nutrition and well-being and help reduce obesity, diabetes and other diet-related health issues. We would want to work with the Children’s Centre, as well as groups such as SWAN, SWALLOW, MIND and the Carer’s Centre to teach them how to cook healthy, nutritional food. We would also have a section of vertical planters and other areas for growing food as part of the development. We would also like to use the space for different community projects, hosting events that benefit the people of Radstock. If the plans get the go ahead, the Big Local would then raise the funds needed to run these spaces.”

The plans will be on display at Radstock Library and Hope House Surgery until 10th March and are available to view online at: www.hope housesurgery.nhs.uk/new-health-and-community-centre/65827.htm