Porthcawl Medical Centre – local councillors respond to threat of legal challenge

Thursday, 14 July 2016

By GEM Community Correspondent

in Health

A letter to The GEM from Couns Brian Jones, Norah Clarke, Michael Clarke

We read with interest the front page article regarding the potential for legal challenge of a proposed new medical Centre in Porthcawl. Having access to good health services in Porthcawl is important to us all.

I have been working closely with ABMU, along with Coun Norah Clarke for Nottage and Coun Michael Clarke for Rest Bay, where they are very concerned and working hard to ensure that appropriate transport is available to ensure that residents can conveniently get to the new site.

We would like to share some facts which may help Mr Gaynor to understand why there is a ‘groundswell of support’ across Porthcawl and the potential risks to future health provision in Porthcawl.

Mr Gaynor states that ABMU comments regarding their long term fruitless land search are “palpably false’. This is nonsense and closer examination of the facts will demonstrate this.

Facts:

ABMU have been trying for 10 years to invest £3.5m in upgrading and expanding the range of community based health services available for residents, including Mr Gaynor and his family, now and in the future.

I am sure Mr Gaynor has heard of Porthcawl Regeneration and the Owners (Evans) Agreement. Basically this is a legal agreement entered into some 10 years ago by BCBC and two landowners to build 1,300 houses along the seafront land from Dock Street right over Sandy Bay to Trecco and share the proceeds..

It runs to nearly 96 acres, and takes in every square yard of land and blade of grass from the back of Hillsborough Place, skirting around the immediate perimeter of the Portway Surgery takes part of Griffin Park and then all the way along behind New Road school through to Trecco.

The problem this causes is that the current Portway surgery site is blighted because they (ABMU) cannot get permission to access adjoining land from BCBC to expand their current or build a new Health Centre there, because adjacent land is committed to the Owners development contract.

If you then look around Porthcawl for any other land available there quite frankly is none, every square yard is blighted by the land agreement.

If the proposed site is not developed then Porthcawl will not have adequate health provision for our residents. The current Portway surgery services some 14,000 patients and Dr Eales 2,500 – both very close to capacity which would mean declining new patients. This is not a threat but a fact.

If the new site does not go ahead there will come a time when Dr Eales retires, so both new patients and Dr Eales patients will have to transfer to health provision outside Porthcawl in Cornelly or further afield.

The comment in your article referring to a BCBC spokesman is highly misleading where the reference to “The applicant chose to focus on this site due to the urgent need to provide improved health services in Porthcawl”.

I understand ABMU have been talking to BCBC for over 10 years and I refer readers back to the landlocked 96 acres across Porthcawl. ABMU are focussing on the Mallards Reach site because if they do not then there is a very serious risk to any future health service in Porthcawl.

Part of the reason that the car parking provision was changed is because BCBC planners in discussion with ABMU considered the number of parking spaces required for the size of the proposed Health Centre.

Following this a modified parking plan was submitted which included securing offsite parking provision for staff and reducing the size of the development and not making all the services they had planned available.

Mr Gaynor is quite right that the Globe option has some drawbacks. ABMU submitted a plan to develop part of the green opposite to accommodate parking but BCBC turned that down as they may need it for future development of the land opposite, it will get developed in the end so why not include it in the Health Centre plan?

In our discussions with ABMU and the practice lead we have found them very understanding about the issues related to local parking and access by Rest Bay and Nottage residents and some practical ideas are emerging.

For example the practice is looking at patient attendance plans to minimise the number of cars on site, opening hours will be during the normal working day, the potential for ‘Access Only’ restriction into the Mallards Reach private housing site, BCBC is consulting nearby residents, including Mr Gaynor, about increased yellow lines and parking restrictions.

At the end of the day the Mallards Reach site is not ideal but we must be under no illusion that if it does not go ahead there then a new Health Centre will not happen because there is nowhere else.

The way forward is to work together to maximise the positives and minimise the negatives. If Mr Gaynor was to come up with traffic management suggestions to ease the concerns I am sure everyone involved would see that as positive.

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Article source: http://www.barry-today.co.uk/article.cfm?id=106385&headline=Porthcawl%20Medical%20Centre%20-%20local%20councillors%20respond%20to%20threat%20of%20legal%20challenge§ionIs=news&searchyear=2016