Fears over medical centre scheme already being a 'done deal'

Residents say they fear a scheme to build a new medical centre on a cherished green space has already been given the go-ahead despite it still being officially "under consideration".

The site off Northwood Park Road in Bushbury, Wolverhampton
The site off Northwood Park Road in Bushbury, Wolverhampton

Planners at Wolverhampton Council are mulling over proposals for a new medical centre on land off Northwood Park Road and Broadway in Bushbury.

But fears are growing that the scheme is already a 'done deal' after workers descended on the site over the past week.

Wolverhampton Council has put out a public notice saying it intends to "dispose of the land" for development as a medical centre.

The centre – which will replace the practice on Prestwood Road West in Wednesfield and Bushbury Medical Centre in Hellier Road – has been opposed by some residents and local councillor Andrew McNeil.

A public consultation into the plans noted that while concerns had been raised over the "loss of green space", Wolverhampton Council considered the land "surplus to requirements" as it sits next to a local park.

Local resident Rachael Villau, who has objected to the plans, said concerns were growing due to work doing on at the site.

"I think the decision has already been made," she said. "The council clearly wants rid of the land, but from what I can gather most people around here want to keep it as it is.

"It is a nice space and if they do build on it the parking will become a nightmare due to all the extra traffic.

"There are sites in Wednesfield that could be built on instead of here."

Work has already started at the site off Northwood Park Road in Bushbury, Wolverhampton
The planning application at the site in Bushbury
Work has already started at the site off Northwood Park Road in Bushbury, Wolverhampton

A Wolverhampton Council spokesperson said the developer had been granted a "short-term licence agreement to enter the site to undertake soakaway testing and monitoring".

"It is standard practice for any developer – at their own cost – to obtain surveys on land intended for development, prior to ownership and planning approval, to assist with design preparation should planning permission be granted."

The spokesperson added that the scheme was "yet to be considered by the planning committee and no decision has been made".

In an official objection to the plans, Bushbury North councillor Mr McNeil, said the site "should be protected from any development" and could be preserved for community use as a "village green".

"The council should not be disposing of a community asset in this way," he said.

He also said the scale of the building would be "over-bearing" and criticised the consultation as a "one-sided affair" in favour of the scheme.

Councillor McNeil said that of 100 residents he had spoken to, only one was in favour of the practice.

Patients in Wednesfield have also raised concerns about the scheme, saying the closure of the Prestwood Road practice would mean they have to travel further to see a GP.

A statement from developer Medcentres, said: "We are currently awaiting a planning decision from the local planning authority. The planning application is for a modern, purpose built medical centre which will future proof the provision of primary care in the local area for decades to come.

"The Primary Care Commissioning Committee approved the project in August after an extensive assurance process including a public and patient consultation.

"The project has not yet been awarded a planning decision and works to build the medical centre have not started.

"A licence agreement was obtained from the council in order for surveys to be completed.

"The results of which will help aid the planning process and allow the design preparation to continue, should planning permission be granted.”

The new practice will feature 20 consulting and examination rooms, three treatment rooms, GP training rooms, central and private waiting areas, and more than 60 car parking spaces.

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