Norwich walk-in centre given permission to move into Rouen House
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2014
Norwich's hugely popular walk-in centre has been given permission to move into a new home.
The future of the Timber Hill Health Centre was thrown into doubt earlier this year after Castle Mall's owners got planning permission for a restaurant quarter where the centre is based.
But members of Norwich City Council's planning committee today agreed it could move into nearby Rouen House, in Rouen Road.
Officers at Norwich City Council had recommended that councillors allow the switch, saying it was considered of 'upmost importance' that it remains in the city centre.
Mall bosses had suggested the GP surgery and walk-in centre could be moved into an empty shop unit on level two.
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But Norwich Practices Ltd, which runs the health centre, said that was just not practical and lodged plans to move to Rouen House, in Rouen Road.
Steve Bloomfield, business manager for Norwich Practices Ltd, told the committee: 'If we don't get planning permission, the reality is we have a timescale of the early part of next year and we would not be able to put together any other alternative to move to.
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'That would mean thousands of people would lose their GP surgery and put a huge strain on accident and emergency at the hospital.'
Councillors unanimously agreed permission, but acknowledged concerns from neighbours and the Norwich Society about access and parking.
A condition has been attached to the permission, requiring the submission and formal agreement of a travel plan on how the centre would provide information to staff and customers on sustainable travel.
The walk-in centre is planned for the lower ground floor of Rouen House, with the doctors' surgery on the ground floor.
A new entrance for the walk-in centre, on the side if the building, would need further planning permission.
• Would you be happy with the walk-in centre's move? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.