Medics claim flats plan would threaten services

Gazette Series: The car park at Abbotswood Shopping Centre in Yate The car park at Abbotswood Shopping Centre in Yate

PLANS for flats on a shopping centre car park in Yate could jeopardise services offered by the local dental and doctor surgeries, practise managers have warned.

A doctor's surgery manager has even said the closing of the busy car park at Abbotswood Shopping Centre could weaken emergency vehicles' access to the practise.

Outline plans to turn the car park at the back of the shops into a undisclosed number of residential flats have been submitted to South Gloucestershire Council by the shopping centre owners.

But Helen Holbrook, practise manager for Leap Valley Surgery which owns the Abbotswood practice, said the flats would make parking and access for patients difficult.

"We have ambulances rushing to the practice from time to time and my concern is that their access could be jeopardised," she said.

"The security and safety of our staff and their cars would also be a concern if there is no car parking provided.

"The car park offers easy access to our patients and staff and we hope it stays."

Dental surgeon of Apple Dental Practise, Dr Sarah Greig, has added weight to concern.

Her surgery, also in the shopping centre, is one of the last remaining NHS dental practises in the area and has more than 11,000 patients registered.

She said: "The car park is always full during the day with our patients, those of the doctor's surgery downstairs and people coming to the shopping complex.

"Without this car park we would be unable to easily provide the excellent NHS service currently provided, especially to our disabled patients.

"Development of this piece of land is entirely inappropriate and would jeopardise a number of vital public services including ours."

Steve Seward, conservative candidate for the Parish of Dodington in next May's elections, said the 'unacceptable' proposals would represent gross overdevelopment in the area.

"The Abbotswood area already has a lot of high density flats and building more can only damage the quality of life for existing residents and worsen some of the problems of anti-social behaviour in the area.

"I am very concerned about the loss of car parking which is very important to the local community and it is clear from comments from dentists and doctors that they fear the loss of it will be detrimental to their patients."

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