Permission for the two storey modular building to be used as an NHS health clinic was first granted in 2008, on the condition it was removed after three years from land next to Burntwood Leisure Centre in Chasetown.
The application was put forward 11 years ago by the now-defunct South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust. And a design and access statement submitted at the time said that after three years “a large more permanent clinic will be developed on the same site adjoining the leisure centre or on a different site within Burntwood".
But two extensions of the permission for the temporary building have been granted in recent years – and the most recent one was due to expire this week.
On Monday – the expiry date of the previous consent – Lichfield District Council’s planning committee members voted unanimously to extend the permission for a further five years, meaning the modular building can be retained for use as a clinic until the end of September 2024.
Councillor Diane Evans said: “Unfortunately for Burntwood residents this is a really necessary building to be retained because we all know that we have been let down and we don’t have a permanent health facility."
Councillor Rob Birch added: “This is a double-edged sword; it addresses the immediate need but while it exists it takes away the urgency for a new building. I think it is an absolutely essential service it is providing.”
According to the NHS website there are currently more than 5,300 patients registered at Burntwood Health and Wellbeing Centre. There are three GPs at the practice, as well as a midwife available on Thursdays.
A planning statement submitted as part of the latest application said: “The building contains various consulting, treatment, nurses’ and waiting rooms, a reception area, toilets etc, together with meeting rooms, staff room and administration facilities.
“The health clinic is run as a GP practice, walk-in centre for persons registered with other practices and in addition, includes other health and social care services and voluntary sector services. It is open 8am to 8pm every day.
“Before the previous permission in 2014, the former Primary Care Trust (PCT), in consultation with a range of stakeholders, investigated various options for improved primary health provision in Burntwood. Whilst outline permission was granted in 2006 for a new health centre on land off Cannock Road, Chase Terrace, the PCT were uncertain whether this would fulfil the heath needs of Burntwood and pending a final decision on the number and location of new health facilities, they obtained planning permission for three years for the current temporary walk in health clinic at Burntwood Leisure Centre.
“It was envisaged that the health centre services located in the temporary building would transfer to a permanent building around 2012. The building would then be removed from the site.
“The temporary building was subsequently installed and has been in use since that permission and a further temporary permission granted in 2011. Although planning permission was granted for a permanent health centre close to the existing temporary facility, that facility was not built.
“The plans did not come to fruition and work on the identification of a new permanent location continues to be a priority. This application is necessary to support the continued delivery of all health services in this part of the borough and the temporary use of the facility is an important step in securing a permanent location for the services provided here.”