Northgate Surgery will not move to the town centre after NHS Sussex decided the current site can be developed and refurbished.
The surgery, run by Saxonbrook Medical, proposed to move the surgery on Woolborough Road in Northgate to rooms adjacent to Crawley walk-in centre on Haslett Avenue West because it felt the 30-year-old building was no longer fit for purpose.
The proposal was met with strong opposition from councillors and residents who said elderly and sick people would have to travel further and would find it difficult to get into town.
Following a specialist panel meeting in Lewes last week, it was decided there is ‘long term potential’ for the site and it will remain where it is.
A spokeswoman for NHS Sussex said: “Our priority is to ensure patients and local residents have access to high quality health services, including primary care, close to where they live.
“Following concerns raised to us about plans to relocate Northgate Surgery, our specialist panel have reviewed the application. After hearing new evidence in relation to the long-term potential of the current premises, NHS Sussex has asked the practice to continue to provide health care from their Woolborough Road premises.”
Pat Teague, who lives in Northgate, and is chair of the Northgate Matters forum, said: “This will make such a difference to the vulnerable, disabled and elderly and it is great news.
“It has been a great concern to people who use the surgery, and I am sure the patients will be over the moon.”
Cllr Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate) said he was pleased with the decision, especially as the Town Centre North development could see part of the town centre pedestrianised, and so people would not be able to drive to the surgery.
He said: “We are very pleased to have got this decision. This has been a cause of concern for many vulnerable residents and after making presentations on this I am very glad they have changed their position.
“The town centre development means the area where the surgery could have been, will become inaccessible by car.”
Cllr Bob Burgess (Con, Three Bridges) said the decision showed the consultation period was ‘flawed.’
He said: “I’m really pleased with the outcome, I think it shows very clearly that the consultation process that did take place was both flawed and the patients views it did not properly take into consideration.
“Both ward councillors opposed what was being proposed and this has been a good example of cross party unity, and shows it was the patients who were important, and their views have prevailed which is great news.”
Shailesh Patel, who is a pharmacist at Jades Chemist in Northgate, was concerned business might suffer as a result of the move.
He said: “This is excellent news. It will definitely help our business and at least stabilise it again as we were worried people would use the pharmacy in the walk-in centre instead.”
NHS Sussex said it would now work with the surgery to develop the site.
The spokeswoman added: “We will now work closely with Saxonbrook Medical and the current landlord to see how the building can be refurbished and developed to continue to provide the best possible services for their patients and the local community.”
What do you think? Leave your comments below or contact the newsdesk.