No new start date for delayed health centre

WAITING GAME: Building work on Sudbury's �10million health centre has not started on time.
WAITING GAME: Building work on Sudbury's �10million health centre has not started on time.

Delays to the building of Sudbury’s new £10million health centre have sparked concern among residents, according to a councillor.

Building work on the Church Field Road site, which is to be carried out by The Assura Group, is yet to start, having been scheduled for early autumn with the intention of finishing by early 2014.

While minor amendments, including changes to the car park and alterations to a pedestrian crossing in Waldingfield Road, were recommended for approval by Sudbury Town Council’s planning committee last week, councillor Jan Osborne said the wait is worrying.

“Sudbury is growing and there are proposed developments like the ones at People’s Park and Chilton Woods – we need that health centre more and more and this is really bad news,” she said.

“We were promised that building work would have started by now and people are starting to ask ‘Will it ever begin?’

“If the NHS is absolutely committed to building that centre, why has it got to wait?

“At the very least, the building blocks and foundations could be put in place so then it is ready to go.”

Commenting on the Free Press’ Facebook page, Emma-Louise Fields said: “It’s taken so ridiculously long, I just assume it will never happen. As far as I’m concerned, it is all talk.”

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk said: “We can understand that people want to see building work started and so do we. We are still committed to making this happen.

“We are now in the governance process stage, which, like all major building projects, involves input from a number of different health agencies to ensure all legal, financial and planning aspects are correct. Once this stage is complete, we will be able to announce a start date.”

Plans for a new health facility for the town have been mooted for more than 30 years.

The most recent expected start date had already been postponed by a month, due to a delay in the selection of The Assura Group as the preferred developer for the project.