Former Newcombes Surgery in Crediton is set to get a new lease of life

Friday 4th March 2022 12:53 pm
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The former Newcombes Surgery premises. Image: Google Maps
The former Newcombes Surgery premises. Image: Google Maps (Google Images )

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A FORMER Crediton GPs’ surgery could be converted into four new properties, despite concerns from local people.

Newcombes Surgery closed last year when its services were incorporated into Crediton’s new £8 million Redlands Primary Care building. The old surgery now has permission to be divided into residential units, subject to some conditions.

Under the plan, the building can convert into one three-bedroomed home, with the rest becoming four-beds. Each would have a private garden, while the existing car park would be mainly retained with 14 spaces and an area for cycle storage and recycling.

However, it was also revealed at a meeting of Mid Devon’s planning committee on Wednesday, March 2, that the building could also become a children’s home with four units.

An officer told members how the separate application would come before a future meeting but was not yet able to be presented.

An adjoining bungalow, which formerly served the health centre as a pharmacy/office, already has planning permission to become either a children’s home or another residential property.

Objector Steve Howells, who said he was representing “40-or-so concerned residents of Crediton” said the “identical” nature of the plans meant the committee should consider deferring their decision until both sets of details were available and to enable a site visit to take place.

“We have no objection in principle to the property being converted into normal residential homes for sale on the open market, but looking at the plans in front of you, it’s clear that they have not produced with that aim in mind,” Mr Howells said.

He evidenced the lack of energy efficiency measures, how the rear gardens were “severely restricted in their use,” a lack of en-suites or separate living rooms and questioned the “vastly over-provisioned” parking.

Councillor Frank Letch (Lib Dem, Lawrence), who represents the area, also objected to the plan: “It wasn’t a building that was built to be lived in, it was a building to be worked in as doctors and nurses and so on.

“And so I feel it is a nice try, but I think the end result of what is proposed is not what is needed and is not up to what I would call family living standards.”

But in recommending approval, the planning officer’s report says it is “considered to be supportable in policy terms.”

It adds: “The site is located in a sustainable location with good access to services and facilities within the town such that a residential use of the site is considered to be supportable in principle… [and is] “not likely to result in any significant adverse impacts” to neighbours.

Addressing councillors, an officer said the building was “not being utilised at the moment, so in grounds of sustainability and positive planning, there is a solution before us here.” They added that the floor space of the properties exceeds national standards.

When asked if the owner(s) of the potential four houses would need separate permission if they subsequently wanted to use them for supported living or a children’s home, the officer added: “My understanding is yes.”

Councillors backed the application, on the recommendation of officers, by a margin of 10 to one.

It is subject to landscaping, cycle storage and refuse facilities being put in prior to the main work starting. If this cannot be agreed with the applicant, the application will return to the committee.

Ollie Heptinstall

LDRS

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