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'Don't move services to new Barton estate'
BARTON residents have raised concerns their local health and police hub could be relocated to a major new development.
Barton Surgery, which has three doctors, and the five-strong neighbourhood policing team are based in Barton Community Centre in Underhill Circus.
But it has emerged the developers of the 900-home Barton West scheme want to include a GP surgery and a police station as part of a new community facility there.
While Thames Valley Police has refused to comment, Oxfordshire NHS has confirmed discussions are taking place about the future of local services.
The hub could be moved anywhere on the 36-acre space the estate is to be built on north-east of Oxford, next to the A40 ring road, meaning it could be up to one-and-a-half miles away from the community centre.
Sue Holden, secretary of Barton Community Centre, said: “We are gravely concerned there is talk the doctor’s surgery will be relocated and even more concerned the neighbourhood police office may be relocated.
“To take away things already in Barton would indicate integration was never top of the agenda. It makes a very good selling point for developers to say it will have its own police office and doctors.
“Integration was brought up by Oxford City Council at one of the first meetings about Barton West because they do not want to repeat the same mistake as Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys.”
Barton resident and community activist Racheal Peace said: “We lost our post office a few years ago which might be replaced in the new development rather than in the original Barton estate.
“And the policing team have been good in helping the area become less rough – reducing crime and antisocial behaviour – and we would like to see it here more, not based at the new development.”
The Barton West scheme was approved by a planning inspector last year, and adds to Barton’s 4,700-strong population.
Barton Surgery has 1,300 patients on its books, but not all of those are from Barton, and a number of Barton residents use the surgery’s parent organisation Bury Knowle surgery.
A planning application is due to be submitted to start the development process in the spring by the partnership of Oxford City Council and Grosvenor, so no decisions about potential relocation have been made.
Provisional plans for the scheme also include a new primary school and community space, but details will not be published until the planning application is submitted.
Oxfordshire NHS spokesman Archana Sharma said: “The Primary Care Trust is involved in ongoing discussions with the city council about the land at Barton and Barton West, including how best to commission services to meet the primary care needs of the new population.
“No decisions have yet been made about the most appropriate way to achieve this.”
Grosvenor spokeswoman Sorrel Comley said: “There is going to be a community facility which will have space for a doctor’s surgery and amenities of that sort and we have been in discussion with police at the consultation stage. Whether they take it or not is a discussion for the police and doctors.”
City council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “A high quality community hub is proposed for the new development that could potentially accommodate amenities like a police station or health centre, but a decision as to which businesses or amenities it will include is not imminent.”