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Fears raised over reduced parking spaces in new medical centre plans
6:20am Friday 25th October 2013 in Local
PLANS to build a new medical centre in a busy Bewdley car park have come under fire over concerns it will affect the economic health of the town.
Fears have been raised about the impact the loss of parking spaces could have on the riverside town during annual popular events.
Dr Matthew Davis, partner at Bewdley Medical Centre, said critics were playing a “dangerous game of snakes and ladders with Bewdley’s healthcare future” by challenging the plans, however.
If given the go-ahead, the new centre would be built on a section of the town’s Dog Lane car park, taking up about 100 parking spaces. It could also include a pharmacy and consulting rooms, A new car park with 45 spaces would also be built on the centre’s existing site in Load Street.
Chris Griffin, vice-chairman of Bewdley Civic Society, said the loss of parking spaces was a “big concern”
for the town. “If anything, we would like to expand the parking there,” he said. “As a tourist town, it’s important for people to be able to come in and park.
“If people can’t park they will then go somewhere else and we would like people to stay in the town and enjoy the facilities. We’re concerned about the economic health of the town.”
The new medical facility was originally going to be built on the existing site but the plans were thrown into doubt in 2011 following a dispute with English Heritage and developers Matrix Realty about the height of the proposed development.
Further plans to move the surgery to Wribbenhall were also shelved after a public outcry.
Dr Davis said plans for the new centre were backed by residents during a meeting last December.
He added funding for the new development was only available for the Dog Lane site.
“It was made clear that to have a state-of-the-art medical centre for the people of Bewdley would mean a trade-off,” he said.
“That compromise would be a loss of car parking in the town which, as we said, would be a worst case scenario of 55 car parking spaces.”
He added a number of other locations were also being considered to release additional car spaces.
“Our current building cannot be patched up any longer and my fear is that if the Dog Lane plans are rejected, we could see Bewdley with a medical centre unfit for the 21st century or, even worse, without anything,” he said.
“This won’t harm the town. It will enhance it, bring new jobs, investment and growth.”
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