This follows the decision by North Somerset Council’s Executive at its meeting today (Wednesday 29 April) to award the contract to build the surgery to Willmott Dixon, subject to the necessary legal arrangements being entered into.
Once these are agreed it is anticipated that the construction contract will be signed in May with work starting on site in July and the new surgery opening in June next year.
The council is working in partnership with NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to develop health facilities to meet the needs of the Weston Villages development area, close to Junction 21 of the M5.
Weston Villages includes two sites – Parklands Village on the former RAF Locking base and surrounding land and Haywood Village on the former Weston Airfield. The sites are part of the Junction 21 Enterprise Area where the council has placed a strong emphasis on the delivery of jobs and infrastructure alongside housing.
This joint project involves the council designing and building the surgery on land off Anson Road transferred from Homes England and developers St Modwen. It will be built to BREEAM standards, the most widely used environmental assessment method, supporting the council’s commitment to tackling climate change.The council will retain ownership of the building and lease it to a CCG nominated GP practice at a peppercorn rent.
Much of the funding for the scheme is coming from the CCG which has successfully secured a grant of over £3m from the NHS Estates and Technology Transformation Fund to support and improve GP services for patients in the Weston Villages area. This is being supplemented by developer contributions of just over £1m secured by the council.
Cllr Ash Cartman, the council’s executive member for finance and performance, welcomed the scheme and recognised its importance at this particular time.
He said: “This project will not only provide much-needed health facilities to meet the needs of the additional 7,000 new homes proposed at Weston Villages, it will contribute to the economic recovery of the area from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Government has sent a clear message saying the construction sector is a critical part of our working economy and a major catalyst for regional and national growth. Projects like this, providing important facilities to support local communities, are vital and we are working closely with the CCG to ensure the impacts of Covid-19 on the project are minimised.”
Dr Martin Jones, local GP and Medical Director at the CCG, added: “We are delighted to have this commitment from the council to delivering this new purpose-built GP facility for the local community, once a number of contractual elements are agreed and ensuring that the contractor can deliver within budget.
“We are really pleased this project has been able to progress in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Ensuring that we continue to improve and strengthen GP services in Weston-super-Mare is a high priority, and we need to ensure this is progressed.”