Parking dispute threatens Pinchbeck surgery expansion plan

Church Walk Surgery in Pinchbeck, the neighbouring Regency Salon (left) and the driveway between the two premises.  Photo (TIM WILSON): SG020317-120TW.
Church Walk Surgery in Pinchbeck, the neighbouring Regency Salon (left) and the driveway between the two premises. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG020317-120TW.
  • Village hair salon owner calls GP clinic expansion ‘unbearable’
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A row over parking rights threatens to derail plans to extend a doctor’s surgery in Pinchbeck.

Plans to improve Church Walk Surgery by adding a new consulting room, reception and disabled toilets were turned down by South Holland District Council on Wednesday.

We are hugely disappointed for patients in Pinchbeck after the planning committee’s decision not to approve the proposed development and upgrading of the branch surgery

Dr Graham Wheatley, senior partner, Munro Medical Centre, owners of Church Walk Surgery

In an eight-to-six vote, district council planning committee members rejected the scheme because of the “negative impact” a lack of parking at the site would cause.

The surgery is located next to Regency Hair Salon whose owner, Kirstie Taylor, said: “From the middle of last year, the surgery started offering hospital services like scans on Wednesdays and Thursday mornings.

“But it’s unbelievable what people will do to go to the doctor’s, parking all over the road so that you can’t use the driveway outside my salon.

“The residents of Church Walk know that if a second consulting room was allowed, it would be bedlam and life down here is goint to be unbearable.

“We need a surgery in Pinchbeck but we’ll suffer because of the problems that would come with extra doctor’s appointments.”

Church Walk Surgery is run by Spalding’s Munro Medical Centre whose senior partner, Dr Graham Wheatley, said: “We are hugely disappointed for patients in Pinchbeck after the planning committee’s decision not to approve the proposed development and upgrading of the branch surgery.

“Unfortunately, discussion at the meeting was distorted by a gross misrepresentation of the status of the parking area in front of the surgery.

“As all parties to the discussion should be aware, as the relevant legal documents were made available to the council before the meeting, the practice has already purchased a legal right to park vehicles across the whole of the front of the plot where the surgery is sited.

“The planning committee’s decision is particularly unfortunate as the NHS funding we have won to develop and improve the surgery is time-limited and it is far from certain that it will still be available now approval for the project is, at best, delayed.

“We will make every effort to persuade the NHS to carry the funding forward and, if we are successful, we will certainly appeal against the planning committees decision.”

The decision to turn down plans to expand Church Walk Surgery has been blamed on Pinchbeck district councillor Sally Slade.

In her objection to the plans, Coun Slade claimed an expansion would “put extra pressure on the already overwhelmed car park which is owned by the hairdresser, not the surgery”.

Coun Slade said: “At times when the surgery is open, there is already a problem with inadequate parking and patients regularly using the narrow road to park, whilst waiting to see the doctor.

“There have been problems with cars blocking driveways and customers not being able to access the hairdresser’s.

“An extended doctor’s surgery will inevitably mean more cars when there will be less space for parking.”

But Dr Wheatley accused Coun Slade and other planning committee members who voted against the plans of putting NHS funding for it at risk.

He said: “If funding cannot be carried forward and the improvements cannot take place, this will be entirely the responsibility of Coun Slade and her seven colleagues who she persuaded to vote against this project. “Perhaps they could explain to patients in Pinchbeck exactly why they chose to deny them the improvements that could so easily have been provided to improve their care?”