PROPOSALS for a new multi-million pound health centre in Colne have been welcomed by local councillors and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson.
An application has been submitted to Pendle Council for the erection of a three-storey health centre with 2,700 square metres of floorspace, including a pharmacy.
If approved, the centre would be built on the old Kwik Save site, in Craddock Road, where permission has already been granted to demolish the store.
Services from the current centre, in Market Street, would be relocated, and according to the application’s “Design and Access Statement”, NHS East Lancashire also intend on improving their range of services.
Construction work would take around 12 months, and it would take about four weeks to commission. It is likely to be discussed further by councillors on the Colne and District Committee in December.
Mr Stephenson, said “I welcome the fact that this scheme is in the final stage of approval and thank NHS East Lancashire for their regular updates. Colne’s current Health Centre is no longer fit for purpose so I am pleased to see this major investment being made.”
Pendle council leader Coun. Joe Cooney said: “Many residents have raised concerns over the current health provision but some have also raised concerns about the empty property on Craddock Road.
“If the application is approved it will be a step on the continued regeneration and improvement of Colne Town Centre.”
And Coun. Dorothy Lord added: “This is really good news. After the original scheme fell through, and with all the changes in the NHS, we feared we might lose this project which is so important for our town.
“We look forward to dealing with this new planning application. We will be looking careful at the details — the design, appearance, and the impact on neighbouring residents of proposals for traffic and parking and so on.
“But overall this is really good news for Colne, and the culmination of years of campaigning by Councillors, local campaigners and townsfolk.”
Also showing his support for the plans is police commissioner candidate Afzal Anwar, who three years ago organised a residents’ petition in favour of the health centre at a time when its funding looked to be in doubt.
He said: “This is really good news for people in Colne and the surrounding areas, and a victory for everyone who has been fighting for this cause over many years.”
Considerable effort was made to find a site suitable enough for the larger health centre. Various areas were considered, including potential redevelopment sites off North Valley Road, Vivary Way, Dockray Street and Market Street, but were discounted on the grounds of suitability.
And according to the application, the appearance of the Craddock Road site is intended to remain welcoming and in keeping with its surroundings, and will remain accessible by all modes of transport, as well as pedestrians and those with disabilities.
A website for the scheme will be launched soon, and NHS East Lancashire will be holding a series of engagement events throughout the course of October.
The Full Business case for the health centre has been submitted to NHS North and be considered by East Lancashire CCG later this month.
Residents are being invited to attend two public drop-in sessions for a new Colne Health Centre development.
The events will take place at Colne Library, in Market Street, on October 29th, from 2pm to 4pm, and October 30th, from 10am to noon.