New medical centre for Fakenham

Victoria LeggettTwo multi-million-pound developments, which will see Fakenham and surrounding villages given a new 'community healthcare campus', gym, nursery and offices, were given the go ahead yesterday.Victoria Leggett

Two multi-million-pound developments, which will see Fakenham and surrounding villages given a new 'community healthcare campus', gym, nursery and offices, were given the go ahead yesterday.

The plans will see the town's Greenway Lane medical practice replaced with a modern surgery between Clipbush Lane and Thorpeland Road and will provide space for doctors, nurses, adult social services and health visitors to work alongside each other.

Next door on the same five-acre plot of land, healthcare developers Medcentres will build a 60-bed care home, a 48-place children's day care centre, offices and a health club for rehabilitation and exercise.

Yesterday, after both proposals were given unanimous support by councillors at North Norfolk District Council's development control meeting, project manager Nick Arnold said he hoped work would begin on the replacement medical centre in six to eight weeks.


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John Fraser, chief executive of Fakenham Medical Practice, said he was delighted with the decision, which will see his surgery move to a building with 25 treatment rooms, a dispensary, pharmacy, complementary clinic and medical training area.

He said: 'It's not just the town who will benefit. Our practice population is 14,000 which includes about 7,000 from the areas surrounding Fakenham.'

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The meeting heard how the practice would also include a day surgery unit allowing doctors to carry out minor operations such as cataract or vasectomy procedures. It would mean patients would no longer have to travel to hospitals in Norwich or King's Lynn for the treatment.

Local member Gloria Lisher told the meeting the development was 'urgently needed'. She added: 'The existing building is inadequate for current needs. This is a wonderful opportunity to expand services at the practice and reduce travel to some hospitals.'

The project manager told the meeting the medical practice was financially dependent on the second group of buildings next door because the deal to buy the land meant all five acres had to be purchased.

While approval from NHS Norfolk for the surgery require building work to begin by the end of September, the plans for the Medcentres' development are at an earlier stage.

Yesterday the developers were seeking only outline planning permission, meaning details such as layout and design are still to be finalised and agreed.

The committee agreed to give officers delegated powers to approve both proposals once it was confirmed that problems raised by Anglia Water and the Environment Agency had been resolved.

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