STONE GPS have said they do not want a proposed health centre to affect the town’s “green lung” but they do want a new site to serve residents’ future needs.
Plans to develop a new leisure centre and sell some land for a supermarket at Westbridge Park sparked controversy last year and earlier this year, before they were put on hold by Stafford Borough Council.
At the time there were also calls for a new health centre to be considered as part of the park develop- ment, to accommodate the town’s two GP practices and improve services for residents.
But doctors from the Cumberland House and Man- sion House practices have said this week that they are not currently involved in any scheme for Westbridge Park.
In a letter to the Newsletter they said: “We value Stone’s green lung and would not want to prejudice its continued use for community benefit.
“We had hoped that the practices, together with both the primary care trust (now the clinical commissioning group) and local council could have developed a 21st century healthcare facility at Westbridge Park on land already developed or Tarmaced and this is the only discussion in the last five years we have had.
“The original concept for a state-of-the-art leisure and health centre was one we supported with no infringement onto the green space.”
But both surgeries still want to improve healthcare provision in the town, they said.
“We feel that our ability to provide the service which we feel the people of Stone deserve is hampered by the size of our current premises and would wish to continue to explore options with the council and the residents of Stone to deliver a health care centre which is fit for the future needs of our population.
“Changes within the NHS, both locally and nation- ally, mean that more work will need to be transferred to primary care from the hospitals.”
Stone residents have already reported difficulties in obtaining GP appointments in the town this year, and health services’ ability to cope with an increased population was one of the concerns raised at a consultation on new home plans in Walton in May.
The former primary care trust had been in talks with British Waterways to develop the Crown Wharf site in Stone town centre in 2009, but these fell through.
Councillor Philip Jones said: “The Wharf land belongs to British Waterways but there isn’t enough car parking space there for the two practices.
“There is only one place for them to go, which was the previously developed land at Westbridge Park, but this has been put on hold.”