A PLANNING application for a long-awaited extension on the Wantage Health Centre has been met with huge support from residents.

The Health Centre is shared by the Newbury Street and Church Street GP practices and for almost a decade staff and patients have been waiting for an extension after a representative from NHS England said that the planning application was imminent in 2012.

The proposed plans for an extension on the Mably Way Health Centre will provide the practices with nine extra consulting and treatment rooms each. There will be a larger joint waiting and reception area in the centre of the building, new patient facilities, new pharmacy and optician units at the front of the building, and more parking.

In November 2016, The two GP practices at Wantage Health Centre applied for the £4m from NHS England to expand their shared building on Mably Way. However, the funding was declined.

This month Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group approved the funding for the anticipated extension and partial refurbishment of the building.

The extension is expected to cost £5.5m and work could begin in early 2022.

Oxford Mail: Wantage Health Centre is hoping to expand with funding from NHS England.
Picture by Ed Nix

Wantage residents have commented on the planning application with their full support.

Peter Challis of Elswith Close is in favour of the extension. He said: "I fully support this application. Should have happened in 2012. No more delays, please. The need is desperate. Lives at stake here."

Nicola Brown of Prior Place said: "We fully support this planning application, fantastic to see it now proceeding as desperately needed."

Thousands more homes are expected to be built in the Wantage and Grove area between now and 2030, meaning there will be extra people needing to use the Health Centre.

Mayor of Wantage Jim Sibbald said: "The extension of the Wantage Health Centre is long overdue. With the growth of new houses around Wantage and Grove the need for infrastructure to support this expansion is of primary concern and I welcome this extension to the Health Centre.

"However, other parts of the infrastructure must not be overlooked such as Education, Fitness and Leisure and Police. Existing facilities such as maintaining Wantage Hospital also need to be taken into account as the population of OX12 grows."

David Johnston, MP for Wantage said: “I’m delighted that the long overdue expansion of the health centre has taken a step forward. Everyone recognises that these hard-working practices need to be able to expand to serve our growing population and I hope that, subject to planning permission being granted, we will finally see them get the space they need.”

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