Surgery decision held up over parking fears

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RESIDENTS’ fears about parking has delayed a council decision over a new GP surgery in Leigh.

Councillors heard that the existing Leigh Family Practice complex was recently judged “no longer fit for purpose” by the Care Quality Commission and the hunt for new accommodation was strongly backed by patients and staff.

But Wigan’s development committee, which adjourned the application so that council members can visit the proposed new Leigh site, heard claims from potential neighbours that they fear the replacement will create parking problems, increased noise and a loss of their privacy.

Council Leader Lord Smith and Mayor of Wigan Coun Myra Whiteside had jointly proposed a site visit following pleas from residents.

The proposed new medical centre is a two-storey building and pharmacy with landscaping that will be built in the grounds of a demolished bungalow in Wigan Road, Leigh.

However the proposal includes seven off-street parking spaces, which is below the maximum standard of 11.

Appearing in person before the committee, Dr Neil Forsdyke, who is based at the practice, said the new site had been the result of a three-year-long search.

He said the existing surgery had come to the end of its useful life.

And Dr Forsdyke added that the new location was served by two bus routes rather than the single one currently bringing patients to the present centre and this would allow far more to use public transport to access GP services. Medical staff would also be taking steps to reduce their car use.

Coun Whiteside said: “We are not opposed to the siting of this medical centre and are pleased that the amenity is being considered to stay in the area.

“However we do have some concerns with the plans.

“The proposed entrance to the car park is in Hill Crest Avenue which is a narrow estate road.

“We are also concerned that the car park is inadequate for the number of visitors.”