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Future of new Churchdown health centre hangs on village green decision

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 18, 2014

By Nick Webster, health reporter

churchdown surgery

Artist's impression of the new Churchdown Surgery from Parton Road.

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Fierce debate over a potential site for a new Churchdown Health Centre is likely to be ignited again, once a ruling on a village green application has been decided next month.

Residents living near to Churchdown Community Centre off Parton Road have been determined to block plans to build a new health hub there since the idea was first mooted two years ago.

The existing surgery serves 14,000 but is in urgent need of expansion.

And a saga to determine where that centre should be built has dragged on for more than a decade, frustrating many patients and residents.

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Land at Buttermilk Lane was first earmarked as a potential plot, but the hopes of private healthcare developer Pembark Ltd and residents were dashed when discussions with NHS bosses broke down.

Peter Bryant, who lives nearby the proposed plot in Dowding Way, has led the campaign objecting to the second proposed site, adjacent to the community centre.

He said: “We have had the village green status hearing with the planning inspector and are hopeful of a positive outcome.

“All the residents are aware there is a need for a new health centre in Churchdown, but it has to be in the right place.

“We have proved that the green space has been used consistently over the last 20 years, not just by clubs connected to the Churchdown Community Association, but by all resident who live nearby.

“It is used for cricket, football and picnics. It looks overgrown now as they have not cut the grass for two years, but that is a ploy we believe.

“It is an important social part of our community, there are plenty of other areas that could be considered instead.”

A ruling on Village Green status for the land is due to be made within around six weeks.

Other sites to have been considered include playing fields at Churchdown School, land at Purton Lane and behind Town Cars at Cheltenham Road East. Land has also been considered for the development behind Evergreen Nurseries.

At the time of the Village Green application, Churchdown Parish Council, said: “The council objects to the application as it considers there is strong evidence that the usage made of the site has not been use ‘as of right’ but is and has been permissive use.

“There are many other facilities within a short distance of the site which can be used freely.”

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8 comments

  • Churchdowner  |  July 24 2014, 4:56PM

    The comments by Old_Warthog are factually incorrect in almost every respect. A prime example of the disinformation that certain individuals are promulgating in their own interests. Makes one think that the author has a vested interest in the Buttermillk Lane site. Shoddy behaviour and disrespectful to the people of Churchdown.

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  • old_warthog  |  May 26 2014, 5:15PM

    NibNobs I think you are a little mixed up about the objectors, it was in fact the Community Centre and your council representatives who were objecting, does that mean that all parishioners by default should not be allowed to be patients of the new surgery wherever it should happen to be built. The applicants were able to show at the hearing that the field has been used on a regular basis for more than 20 years, and it would be extremely difficult to get planning permission for a piece of land that is recognized as an important open space by Tewkesbury Borough Council. The Doctors should re-ignite negotiations with the land owners of Buttermilk Lane, an ideal venue with easy access on a main road with a regular bus service, this land is still advertised as being available for a new surgery, planning would be a formality.

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  • fayebarlow  |  May 20 2014, 10:33AM

    You don't need to wait to see the doctor at Churchdown surgery, you ring on the day you want the appointment and you get seen that day. However in need we are to build a new, bigger and more efficient surgery, we have to be sensible where this is built. There is already plans to build houses on the lovely greenbelt land surrounding Churchdown.

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  • NibNobs  |  May 19 2014, 11:18AM

    Those objecting should not be allowed to become patients. Why would anyone object to a bigger, improved brand new state-of-the-art surgery where I assume the building would be able to perform small operations to relieve the pressure on GRH (and have free parking unlike rip off charges at GRH!) It would no doubt have more doctors to relieve the usual 7-10 day wait to see a doctor, with longer opening hours to help reduce queues at A&E. My guess is that once it is built, the objectors will be queuing to register themselves and family as patients!

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  • Churchdowner  |  May 19 2014, 10:39AM

    This is NIMBYISM at its most vulgar. The proposed site has never seen enough or consistent activity that would lead any sensible individual to the conclusion that it should be given village green status. Let's hope the needs of the community will be considered above the aspirations of a few selfish individuals. Those individuals have resorted to disinformation, distortion and manipulation - they should hold their heads in shame.

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  • mikehibby  |  May 19 2014, 10:31AM

    This is churlish in the extreme. The residents were happy enough to sell off their gardens to make way for Chesford Drive, and are now trying to block a sensible location for a much needed health centre. I've never seen anyone using that scrub land for anything, claiming it is a "village green" is ridiculous!

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  • Apothegm_  |  May 19 2014, 7:24AM

    Strictly speaking, NIMBY is not a word, but an initialism! [/pedant]

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  • JemmyWood  |  May 18 2014, 10:54PM

    One word, five letters..... NIMBY

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