THE construction of a £4.33 million primary care health centre in Colne is set to start today.
In December, Pendle Council’s Colne and District Committee gave plans for the erection of a three storey health centre in Craddock Road the green light.
Now, NHS East Lancashire has announced that approval has been received by NHS bosses to begin work on the former Kwik Save brownfield site immediately.
It is expected that the project will take a year to complete, and once finished will offer a range of health services, including GP practices, and community services.
Various areas were considered for the new health centre, including potential redevelopment sites off North Valley Road, Vivary Way, Dockray Street and Market Street, but were discounted on the grounds of suitability.
Dr. Mike Ions, chief clinical officer of East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, hailed the development as great news. He said: “This is great news for patients in Colne.
“The new health centre will provide state of the art facilities fit for 21st Century healthcare and support GP commissioners in responding to the health needs of the local population”.
And Jackie Hadwen, chief executive of East Lancashire Building Partnership, who has led the project, said: “We are thrilled.
“The approval of the scheme is a testament to all the hard work by staff across the different health organisations working in Pendle.
“We have been assisted throughout by Pendle Borough Council and we have been blessed with tremendous support and input from local people and organisations for which we are very grateful.”
Local councillors and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson have also expressed their delight at the fact the project has taken another step forward.
Leader of Pendle Council Coun. Joe Cooney said: “This is fantastic news for Colne. We have long needed a health centre that is fit for the 21st century and now we will have it.
“We also need to consider what the future will be for the current health centre building as I would be keen to see this prime town centre site redeveloped.”
And Mr Stephenson added: “I am delighted to hear that building work is set to start soon.
“This is wonderful news.”
l To allow access for construction vehicles onto the health centre site, LCC Highways have made a temporary “no loading or unloading order” at any time on parts of Newtown Street, both sides, between Craddock Road and Bence Street.
The notice is expected to last until Monday, January 20th 2014, “or until completion of the works if earlier”.