A GROUP of Bicester county councillors are still concerned that the town's proposed health hub is in the wrong location.

Plans to replace four GP surgeries in Bicester with a new 'super-surgery' were submitted to Cherwell District Council in May.

The proposed 3,350sqm building in Graven Hill has been called Bicester Health and Wellbeing Hub.

Under the scheme, Langford Medical Practice and Victoria House Surgery – both run by Alchester Medical Group – will move into the new site with Montgomery House Surgery and Ambrosden Surgery. Each one will work individually from the same site.

In the past, there was controversy about which area of the town the 'super-surgery' should be built in, with some people wanting it in Kingsmere, and others preferring the south.

Oxford Mail: Yellow spot marks Graven Hill, Bicester - the site chosen for the super surgery. Google Maps.Yellow spot marks Graven Hill, Bicester - the site chosen for the super surgery. Google Maps.

Graven Hill was announced as the 'preferred option' by Alchester Medical Group GP Dr Toby Quartley in September 2019 who said Graven Hill would cope better with traffic than Kingsmere.

But in a joint letter submitted to this paper, Bicester county councillors Les Sibley, Donna Ford and Michael Waine say they support the hub in principle, but that access to the hub in Graven Hill will be a problem.

ALSO READ: Bicester reacts after super surgery site announced as Graven Hill

They said: "Whilst we support increased healthcare provision for residents our view has always been that this is the wrong location as access to the site for the vast majority of people in Bicester and the villages will have to be by car using already very busy roads."

They say that throughout the summer months, they have been asked questions about the siting of the hub which 'all underline residents' worries and ill ease about the proposal'.

Oxford Mail: Bicester Health and Wellbeing HubBicester Health and Wellbeing Hub

Some concerns raised include how vehicle access will be managed from the Rodney House roundabout, what will the patient capacity be, how many parking spaces will be available and will the proposed bus service serving the site be direct or part of a circular route?

Chris A’Court, communications spokesperson for Alchester Medical Group and Montgomery-House Surgery said the hub is designed to serve between 50,000 and 60,000 patients, however when it opens it is expected that about 40,000 patients will be served.

There will be 223 parking spaces, along with many EV charging points and secure facilities for cycles.

ALSO READ: Graven Hill is 'preferred site' of Bicester 'super-surgery'

He added: "There are ongoing discussions with a number of parties over transport, such as road layout, bus links and walking and cycling routes. There is already a commitment to a Transport Plan to ensure good accessibility and sustainability of services."

Hub supporter Conservative Cherwell District councillor Dan Sames for Bicester South and Ambrosden, says it is time to fully support the hub to meet the future needs of a growing town.

He said: "When something has been assessed with a fair and transparent process, we've got to start getting onboard with it now. The time to be concerned about its location has gone - that ship sailed months ago now. What we need to do is ensure that our health facilities are the best to meet the needs of the future."

Liberal Democrat Cherwell District and county councillor Calum Miller said: "The new health hub promises an increased range of local services in impressive, purpose-built facilities. I know many residents already living in Langford, Ambrosden and Graven Hill are excited to see this realised.

"It's important that we work together to get travel and access to the hub right so that all patients find it convenient to use."

To view the full planning application, go to the Cherwell District Council planning portal and search '21/01454/F'.

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