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Residents back call for medical centre to replace car park
NORTH Oxford residents have overwhelmingly backed calls for a new medical centre when the Diamond Place car park is redeveloped.
It was among the ideas supported by the 120 people who attended a consultation event last month on the development of the car park and Ewert House offices.
The results of the consultation were presented at the Summertown and St Margaret’s neighbourhood forum on Thursday.
North Oxford Medical Centre in Woodstock Road is closing at the end of next month after GPs decided that the practice was no longer viable because of retirement and other changes.
And the Summertown Health Centre, on the corner of Banbury Road and Marston Ferry Road, is in a Victorian house which GPs say is no longer fit for purpose.
Senior Oxford City Council planner Sarah Harrison said the “overwhelming consensus” was for a medical centre on the Diamond Place site.
She added: “The Banbury Road site is not fit for purpose.
“The closure of the Woodstock Road centre was mentioned as something that has created an extra need.
“What people want to see is a facility that is accessible for disabled people.”
Dr Matthew Cheetham, a GP at the Summertown Health Centre, said of his surgery: “It is not ideal for a practice in the 21st century. We have got big problems with access. Most consulting rooms are on the first floor.”
He added: “We have 14,000 patients and we are going to get bigger with the closure of the North Oxford Medical Centre.”
He estimated it would cost between £3m to £4m to create a new surgery.
Mr Cheetham said: “If funding is not forthcoming, then we would have to think of imaginative ways to raise the money.”
Ms Harrison added: “Parking on site is obviously a big issue.
“Quite a few suggested that we should do surveys to see how much parking is used at the moment.”
Lucy Mori, a member of the forum’s steering group, said people were keen to see hardware shops, a garden centre, post office, cinema and smaller independent shops in Summertown, but no more supermarkets, kitchen shops, upmarket shops or charity shops.
Forum chairman Martin Roberts said: “There are lots of wonderful ideas. They are going to work on that over the next few months and will come back to talk to us in the spring.”
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