2 December 2020

Official blue and white NHS logo

Exciting plans for a modern £4.7 million health and wellbeing centre in Dartmouth have today been approved at a meeting of South Hams District Council's Development Management Committee.

This means Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) can go ahead with the approval process and legal agreements to move the scheme from planning into the building phase. The final sign off by the Trust Board, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, GPs and South Hams District Council (the Council) is planned for January 2021. With the approvals in place, work could start on site as early as February next year. The Trust will manage the delivery of the building with funding from the Council. The completed building will be owned by the Council and leased to the NHS.

The centre is to be built on part of the land currently used as an overflow for the park and ride at the top of town. It will also house Dartmouth Medical Practice, Dartmouth Caring, and other services such as a retail pharmacy along-side a wide range of services currently offered by the Trust at Dartmouth Clinic, which was re-purposed as an interim health and wellbeing centre in 2017. The scheme also includes hardstanding car-parking spaces for the Council, which will ensure that any impact on the capacity of the park and ride, and parking for the town, is kept to an absolute minimum.

Chief Executive of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, which is leading the partnership project, said: "We are delighted to have reached this significant and long-awaited milestone. This new centre will bring health and wellbeing services under one roof, for the benefit of the people of Dartmouth and surrounding areas. The purpose-designed centre will give local GPs the facilities they need to support the service into the future, and enable close working relationships and joined up care services with our community teams and voluntary sector partners."

Cllr Hilary Bastone, South Hams District Council's Deputy Leader said: "I am really pleased that this project can now move forward and we can support the build of a modern, fit for purpose health and wellbeing hub.  This is fantastic news for the population of Dartmouth and the surrounding villages. 

In short, it will provide significant health care benefits and help improve capacity for a health care which is currently under strain."

The planning determination period was extended beyond the usual 13-week approval process to address specific issues on the site in discussion with planners. This has allowed solutions to be found for rainwater drainage, and to retain as many trees as possible. During this time, ground works and investigations have been undertaken on the site. The appointment of a building contractor will be made in December 2020.

The Trust continues to work with NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, Dartmouth Medical Practice and the Council, which owns the development site, to progress the scheme.