CAMPAIGNERS opposed to plans to build a new health centre on a controversial green belt site in Balsall Common are urging the developers behind the scheme to think again about its proposed location.
Berkswell Parish Council are standing against the proposals by Solihull NHS Care Trust and Balsall Common and Meriden Group Practice following a meeting held by the parish council and attended by residents on June 1.
The plans, which are being put forward by Sapphire Primary Care Developments, include replacing the existing GP surgery in Meeting House Lane with new modern premises at Riddings Hill on the corner of Hall Meadow Road and Station Road.
Services to be provided from the centre would include physiotherapy, health visiting, chiropody, family planning, diabetes, antenatal and postnatal clinics, district nursing, social services and speech and language therapy.
Richard Lloyd, chairman of Berkswell Parish Council, said many residents in Berkswell and Balsall Common were not in favour of the scheme.
He said: “The sentiment here among local people seems to be one of opposition to the plans. Everyone wants a new surgery but most residents want a new one in the village of Balsall Common itself and not on the outskirts. Siting this massive building in the Meriden Gap green belt would contravene local and national planning rules.”
“An out of town location would reduce the viability of the shops in Balsall Common. In Balsall Common shops and offices stand empty and a proposal to regenerate this area would be much better.”
However Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, has given her backing to the scheme. She said: “The current GP facilities are stretched to more than full capacity.”
“Nobody wants to use the green belt, however, the village does need a new GP’s surgery.”
A spokesperson for Solihull NHS Care Trust, said: “Solihull NHS Care Trust is committed to improving access to GP services and modernising our facilities right across the borough.
“After a thorough search and investigation of all sites, we believe a council-owned site at Riddings Hill is the best option, suitable, available and affordable.”
The plans were submitted to Solihull Council on April 30 and are expected to go before councillors for consideration at the end of this month.