New health centre plans for Colne

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HEALTH bosses have given the go-ahead for a new medical centre in Colne - albeit smaller than the one originally planned.

East Lancashire’s Primary Care Trust board members have given the plans the green light and they now just need approval from NHS Lancashire’s PCT Cluster Board and the North of England Health Authority.

Last year, NHS East Lancashire announced that it was indefinitely suspending plans for a £10 million state-of-the art health centre in the town centre.

Other building projects in Great Harwood and Clitheroe were also dropped due to financial constraints.

Health chiefs did not think the Primary Care Trust could afford the schemes, which would together have costed £28 million, or their private finance initiative repayments.

Last September, the trust board set up a Locality Development Programme to see how to improve health care facilities in East Lancashire on a reduced budget.

The programme looked at using the PCT’s own capital to fund the building developments, as opposed to external financing options.

It found that by reducing the scale of the developments, three new centres could be built for just £10.3m, with excess land owned by the PCT sold off to meet costs.

Last week a proposal to build a new, reduced-sized health centre in Colne was brought before the PCT board and was unanimously approved by members.

The health centre would be around 2,500sq.m. and would be built on the former Kwik Save site in Craddock Road, which had been earmarked for the original development.

A spokesman for NHS East Lancashire said: “A proposal was presented to the NHS East Lancashire board last week with the preferred option being to build a new health centre and to release the excess land for sale.

“However, this must now be approved by NHS Lancashire - the PCT Cluster Board and the North of England Health Authority.”

Coun. Ann Kerrigan, who has been campaigning for a new health centre in Colne, said that she was delighted plans had been given the go-ahead.

“It is fantastic news, although the centre is smaller than we had originally planned for its a great start.

“I would like to thank everyone who has campaigned to get a new health centre in the town, it just shows what we can achieve when we work together.”