SURGERY CONCERN

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A PROPOSED new doctors’ surgery in Lurgan may have hit a stumbling block with concerns over parking and traffic congestions.

Planners have received five objections to the surgery which is proposed for Windsor Avenue behind High Street.

The building is to cater for both Moore’s Lane and High Street surgeries.

However, according to the Department of Environment, parking has been recognised as a ‘major concern’ by Roads and Planning Services.

Roads Service has also raised concerns and asked for more information on the existing congestion at the Windsor Avenue/High Street junction.

The DoE said the proposal also involves ‘part demolition’ in the Lurgan Conservation Area to provide access to the site.

It will mean demolishing 9 Windsor Avenue including reinstatement of gable ends to numbers 7 and 11 Windsor Avenue.

The two surgeries are town centre practices with no parking for staff or patients at the moment.

The new surgery will allow the two practices to operate in the same building but independently.

Currently there is a combined staff comprising of nine full time doctors, four part time doctors, 19 nursing staff and 14 administration staff.

The new practice plans to have 13 consulting rooms for doctors, two practice nurse consulting rooms and eight treatment rooms.

For this type of building there is a parking guidance policy which suggests that with the current estimation of staff and clients, there should be 122 parking spaces at the site.

Currently a total of 32 parking spaces are proposed with 12 reserved for doctors and the remainder for patients and staff.

An ambulance space is to be provided but the ambulance would have to use the High Street entrance.

Concerns have been voiced about the volume of traffic expected in Windsor Avenue if the building received planning approval.

Figures from the Traffic Assessment project around 87 people arriving to and from the building with more than an extra 60 vehicles using the site per day.

A DOE spokesperson said: “This application has been site inspected, an initial planning assessment has been completed and the proposal has been discussed at internal group meetings.

“A Transport Assessment (TA) has been received from Lisbane Consultants which looks in some detail at the existing and proposed parking arrangements. Whilst some in curtilage parking is proposed, this is substantially less than is required. Parking has been recognised as a major Roads and Planning concern. Roads Service has raised concerns and requested more information on the existing congestion at the Windsor Avenue/High Street junction, including anticipated queues.”

A meeting is planned in August to discuss planning concerns with the agent.

Dr Michael Chambers from High Street Surgery said: “There are proposals and a business plan has been put forward to the Department of Health. They are still awaiting feedback from the Minister.”

No one from Moore’s Lane Surgery was available for comment.

The Lurgan Mail contacted Todd Architects in Belfast but no one was available for comment.

Also no one from Clear Healthcare was available for comment.

Many of those the Mail tried to contact were on holiday.