Doctors’ surgery in Norwich could move to former handbag factory after planning permission granted

The former Stew Gallery on Fishergate could be turned into a GP surgery. Picture: Google

The former Stew Gallery on Fishergate could be turned into a GP surgery. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

A busy doctors' surgery in Norwich city centre could move premises, after councillors voted unanimously to change the use of a former factory and art gallery.

Gurney Surgery - part of the Castle Partnership - had been based in the Magdalen Street area since 1900.

But Dr Richard Gilbert, from the surgery, said the current building was now too small to meet modern NHS standards.

Now, Norwich City Council's planning committee has given permission for a change of use of 40 Fishergate - which most recently housed Stew Studios but was previously a handbag factory.

At the meeting yesterday, Dr Gilbert reassured concerned residents who had worries about the use of a car park at the rear of the building, as well as an increase in traffic.

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One resident said: 'Even if the car park is used just by staff and a managed with bollards I'm confused as to where patients will park and am concerned that patients will park within our development thereby forcing us to pay for a controlled parking company to manage this.

'Patients would also park in the church car park which is used for lots of voluntary schemes during the week and again affect them and again force them to make changes.'

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And there were also worries about anti-social behaviour which residents were concerned would increase with patients who may need drug treatment. At the meeting, Dr Gilbert reassured residents there would be 'very few' deliveries.

He said: 'The current building is far too small for the needs we have.

'If we were to close there is no capacity in the neighbouring practices for our current patient list to be accommodated.'

In a statement, Dr Gilbert added: 'We fully understand the concerns expressed about use of the rear car park, but can reassure neighbouring property owners that the car park would only be used by staff, and would be kept secure out of hours.

'A previous survey of patients attending the current surgery showed that more than two thirds came on foot or by bus. Those who come by car use existing public car parks such as St Saviour's Lane, and this is just as close to Fishergate as the current surgery is.'

The relocation of the surgery would still need to be approved by NHS England before it goes ahead.

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