Long-awaited Wednesbury health centre given go-ahead
A long-running saga over proposals to build a “flagship” medical hub looks set to finally come to an end after planning chiefs gave the project the green light.
Developers will start work on building the new Wednesbury health centre, which has been a decade in the making, after Sandwell Council’s planning committee unanimously approved proposals on Wednesday.
It comes despite concerns from residents living nearby that the long-awaited plans would cause parking problems outside their homes.
Councillor Peter Hughes, who represents Wednesbury North, said: “Wednesbury has been expecting a new health centre for quite a few years now.
“It is a flagship centre - one of the first the council is doing in partnership with the NHS across the country.
“It is a prime project for Sandwell, and for Wednesbury.
“I accept that there would be some concerns from residents living opposite the health centre that there would be some issues with parking. I do totally think there is sufficient parking within the site, there is provision for overflow.”
The King Street site has stood empty since the former Kingsbury House and Resource Centre was demolished in 2008.
Plans include building five three-bedroom houses alongside the health centre, which will sit behind Wednesbury Leisure Centre.
It will also boast 13 consultant and treatment rooms, a large reception area, offices and 32 parking spaces - with patients expected to use the nearby leisure centre car park if there is a lack of spaces.
The existing Spires GP Practice will move from its temporary mobile unit in Victoria Street, along with the district nurses and podiatry services at Alma Road’s Mesty Croft Clinic.
Councillor Hughes suggested implementing a resident parking scheme to curb congestion in King Street but was told the council would not issue permits when off-road parking is available.
He added: “It will out back into use a site that has been derelict for many, many years. We are only replacing something that would have had visitors to it anyway. We live in a changing world and we have got to support this.”
Jobs for 10 full-time and 20-part-time members of staff are expected to be created, with medics encouraged to park in an reserved six-bay parking area.