Campaigners battling proposals to move a health centre out of their neighbourhood are celebrating after surgery bosses made a dramatic U-turn.
Controversial plans were unveiled to close Fishergate Hill Surgery in Fishergate Hill, Preston and the Doclands Medical Centre in Ashton and move them into a new build super surgery on Corporation Street.
However, the proposals angered residents who feared that the distance would cause a problem for elderly patients getting to the new surgery and claimed that it would mean taking four buses for a return trup to the doctors.
The new site would also have had no car parking facilities which meant that patients would have had to fork out for parking.
A petition was launched and more than 2,300 signatures were collected opposing the move and fighting for the surgery to stay in its current location.
The Smithson’s Pharmacy on Fishergate Hill also supported the campaign by displaying a Save Our Surgery banner.
People power has now scored a victory as surgery bosses have decided not to go ahead with the move.
However, health chiefs say they still need more room to expand services and will now look for premises which suit the needs of their patients.
In a letter to Terry Quinn, chairman of the Broadgate Residents Action Group, practice manager Wendy Sutton stated: “I am now in a position to inform you and your members that the practice will not be relocating to Friargate.
“We had a final meeting with the primary care trust and informed them that we feel the location is not suitable for ourselves and our patients.
“As you will probably be aware, the surgery does hold a lot of constraints for us and we would like to move into bigger premises to offer more services to our patients but we need to find a location that suits everyone.”
Terry Quinn, chairman of the Broadgate Residents Action Group, said: “This shows what can happen when a community works together.
“We now hope to be able to work with the surgery to suggest ways they can improve their services in the future in a way that suits the community.
“We do not see this as a victory, but as a way of solving problems that arise in the provision of health services.”
Terry Murphy, vice-chairman of the group added: “We want to thank everyone who has supported this campaign in whatever way.”
A spokesman for Fishergate Hill Surgery and Doclands Medical Centre, said: “Following careful consideration the practices have taken the decision not to relocate the practice premises to a proposed new site on Friargate.
“The practices have taken account of the feedback they received from patients and the public in coming to this decision and would like to thank everyone who contributed to the consultation process”.