Patients in Whittle-le-Woods are poised to get a new GP surgery, after Chorley Council provisionally agreed a deal to buy a plot of land on which it plans to build the facility.
Details were revealed in a last-minute amendment to the authority’s budget which heard that the new site would replace the existing Whittle Surgery on Preston Road. That building was described as being “unfit for purpose”.
The council has come to a so-called ‘heads of terms’ agreement with St. John’s Church to buy a piece of land which used to be occupied by a nursery.
The Labour-run authority will pay £525,000 to secure the site, which has been advertised on the open market. But the full cost, including development, could come close to £1m.
It will be funded by money from a pot of contributions for infrastructure by developers who build new homes in the borough.
“We recognise the importance of the quality of local healthcare,” deputy council leader, Peter Wilson, told the meeting.
“We have been aware of a significant and serious problem in Whittle-le-Woods with the GP surgery building not being fit for purpose – it can’t serve the growing community.
“This council has decided to take positive action and purchase the site at St. John’s Church. That enables delivery of a new GP surgery – a modern practice which will be fit for purpose, provide ample car parking and make sure it can deal with the expanding population.
“Obviously the council will benefit from the rental income that will come from that and hopefully it will be self-financing. So the residents get what they want and we get a financial deal that stacks up for the council taxpayers of Chorley,” he added.
Chorley generated £1.8m in payments to its community infrastructure levy fund in 2017/18 – and it is that cash which will be used to finance the new surgery.
All councils can set their own charge for developers who build in their areas, with Chorley’s fee being £65 per square metre for residential properties.
The deal will have to be approved by the authority’s cabinet next month.
Cllr Mark Clifford, chairman of Clayton-Le-Woods Parish Council, said: "This is fantastic news for the community. We listed St John's Club as a community asset for six months to allow time for the strategic partnership of Chorley Council, Clayton-Le-Woods Parish Council and Whittle Surgery to work on a bid which has now been accepted. Villagers can look forward to a new state of the art surgery which will serve the community well for many years to come."
Whittle Surgery declined to comment on the proposal and nobody at St. John’s Church was available for interview.
Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Group was also contacted for comment.