Building work begins on new Uckfield medical centre
BUILDING work is under way on a new medical centre for Uckfield.
Developers have said the first patients should be using The Meads Medical Centre by March.
The centre in West Park will include a primary care medical centre with a pharmacy.
The 10,400 square foot, predominately two-storey building is being developed by Surrey-based MedicX.
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The GP practice of Dr Duckworth and Partners currently in Grange Road will relocate to the new premises, which will have 35 car parking spaces.
Uckfield Mayor councillor John Carvey welcomed the surgery but said some patients would struggle to access it.
"It is as good as it gets," he said. "The main problem will be access for the elderly but that was going to happen wherever it was put."
Outline planning permission to build a surgery on the site was first granted in 2005.
A detailed application was then approved in February 2009 but the development has not been without controversy.
Originally, the surgery had permission to build only when an access road had been completed.
But the surgery asked for the condition to be lifted so an access road did not have to be completed until the premises was occupied.
The surgery explained it intended to create an opening just for site traffic while building work was in progress, which would eventually become the access road.
Dr Emma Walbrook, senior partner at The Meads Medical Centre said the siting of the new facility was very important.
She said: "As a predominantly rural community, providing a medical centre that is easily accessible by both car and public transport is very important.
"This development has been long awaited by the community and it's great to see construction beginning. We look forward to moving in next spring."
Tony Coke, primary care property director at MedicX said: "We are delighted to have reached this exciting stage in this project.
"We recognise the huge benefits the new healthcare facilities will bring to the local area and we are now focused on maintaining the momentum to open the medical centre and welcome the first patients by March next year."