No surgery

PUBLISHED: 10:23 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:24 06 May 2010

Land at Great Ashby which had been earmarked for a surgery

Land at Great Ashby which had been earmarked for a surgery

THE LONG-running saga over medical facilities for a new development looks set to come to an end when land set aside for a surgery is used for something else. Developers behind Great Ashby near Stevenage have applied to be discharged from a condition of th

THE LONG-running saga over medical facilities for a new development looks set to come to an end when land set aside for a surgery is used for something else.

Developers behind Great Ashby near Stevenage have applied to be discharged from a condition of their planning permission requiring them to leave land free for a surgery.

The land has stood empty for over a decade, as according to the Stevenage and North Herts Primary Care Trust, which co-ordinates doctors' services, there has been "little interest" from GPs in setting up a surgery there.

A spokesman for developers Croudace said if permission to discharge the obligation was granted, the land would be used for "facilities akin to a local centre".

This would mark the final chapter of a campaign by Great Ashby residents to have a surgery built.

After discovering that a practice of their own was unlikely, for a while they were shown a glimmer of hope that they may get a "community health facility", likely to be staffed by nurses and health visitors - but this also came to nothing.

Currently residents use nearby surgeries in Chells and St Nicolas, but this could be subject to change under plans by the PCT to scrap smaller practices and instead have three or four "super surgeries" in Stevenage.

Tim Clark, a Great Ashby resident and campaigner, stressed that it was important to provide transport for those without cars to get to other surgeries.

He said: "Provided there is a clear undertaking that the vulnerable and people who have difficulty getting to the surgeries will be provided for then there is less of an issue with the land being used for a different kind of community facility."

The planning application will be considered by North Herts District Council's southern rural area committee on February 2.

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