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New medical practice would ‘threaten’ village business, fears parish council

PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 March 2018

An artist's impression of the new surgery. Picture: Mendip Vale Medical Practice

An artist's impression of the new surgery. Picture: Mendip Vale Medical Practice

Archant

Plans to replace ‘wholly inadequate’ GP surgeries with a new medical practice have been criticised by a parish council.

Congresbury Parish Council has objected to Mendip Vale Medical Practice’s proposal to build a two-storey surgery in Smallway, between Congresbury and Yatton.

Mendip Vale hopes to close its small surgeries in Congresbury and Yatton, replacing them with a central one and pharmacy – but its proposals failed to win favour from parish councillors who raised a long list of objections at Monday’s meeting.

Mendip Vale executive manager David Clark last week told the Times a new practice would ‘provide a wider range of services closer to home’ for as many as 15,000 patients, adding current facilities are ‘wholly inadequate’.

But parish council chairman Diana Hassan expressed concern over the practice’s placement in the strategic gap between Congresbury and Yatton, which is a buffer to stop the villages merging.

She said: “There are only a few fields now between the villages, and it is important to maintain the space. This is threatened by such a big building.”

Cllr Chris Breyfus argued plans for a pharmacy should be scrapped, adding: “About 93 per cent of Day Lewis Pharmacy’s income is from prescriptions. If you take any of that away, we’ll lose Day Lewis. It (the surgery) can’t have a pharmacy.”

Cllr Hassan added: “I don’t like the chemist. I think it’s threatening Day Lewis. Its chemists are trusted, whereas when you go to the doctor there is no continuity in who you see.

“The chemists know their patients, and I feel it’s very unfair competition.”

The parish council also raised fears over safety at the nearby Smallway junction, widely regarded as unsafe by villagers.

Cllr Hassan said: “There’s already a very busy junction. This would put added strain on that part of the road and, if it goes ahead, the speed limit ought to be reduced between Yatton and Congresbury to 30mph.

“They are also relying on public transport and, as we all know, public transport in this area is pretty precarious.

“I think the surgery should consider running its own minibus shuttle services. I’m sure it could be manned by volunteers.”

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