Plans for a new £5.4m health centre development in Coleford have moved another step forward following the submission of the detailed planning application to the Local Authority.

The news means that, subject to planning approval being granted, building work on the new premises could start in the New Year.

The business case was approved by NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Primary Care Commissioning Committee back in September 2020.

The CCG’s support for the planning application meant that the two GP surgeries, Brunston and Lydbrook Practice and Coleford Family Doctors, were in a position to progress plans to move from their current, outdated buildings into a flexible modern new development and also merge into one practice.

Both practices have outgrown their current premises, and with the local population continuing to increase, premises that are fit for purpose are needed to enable the practices to meet their patients’ growing demands and offer a broader range of services.

By merging, the practices would be able to share resources, become more resilient and work more flexibly and efficiently, offering greater choice and extended opening times to patients in a safer, more comfortable environment.

The innovative designs by health specialists Osmond Tricks, include extra space for additional consulting and treatment rooms which would allow the practices to expand and provide different kinds of support, for example, from nurses and pharmacists. It would also enable significantly more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to receive training.

A number of potential sites were considered and explored, including some in the town centre. After a great deal of research, which included meetings with patients and community groups, an area on the edge of Coleford known as The Gorse, adjacent to both the Coombs nursing home and the Great Oaks Hospice, was chosen as the proposed building site.

Located centrally in the area and on a number of bus routes, this site would offer the best possible access for patients, with around 60 parking spaces and facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. It would also enable the practices to use their available funds as effectively as possible, allowing them to significantly improve their services and facilities.

The building will be energy efficient achieving a BREEAM Excellent environmental standard.

Dr Sebastian Nicholls, GP Partner at Brunston and Lydbrook Practice, said:

“Having the right space in an accessible location and modern facilities would give us the base we need to meet the health and care needs of our patients.

We outgrew our current buildings some years ago, so with significantly better working conditions, we would hope to recruit more doctors, nurses and practice staff to the Coleford area, allowing us to continue to provide the high quality services that the people of Coleford deserve.”

Dr Elizabeth Williams, GP Partner at Coleford Family Doctors, said:

“We are delighted that that plans for a new health centre in Coleford are moving a step closer to becoming a reality.

By merging, the practices would be able to bring together the expertise of both teams and take forward our aspirations to expand and introduce new services and provide the best possible care for all our patients.”

Director of Primary Care at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Helen Goodey said:

“NHS Gloucestershire CCG endorsed the proposals last year and we are delighted that this development is moving forward.

The people of Coleford would really benefit from a modern, spacious and environmentally friendly new health centre, with good access for people with disabilities and better facilities for children and families.

It would also enable doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to offer a broader range of services to patients.”