Plans for a new GP surgery and pharmacy in Sudbury have been given the green light by Babergh District Council.

Hardwicke House Group Practice commissioned the project, which will see the new facility – on the site of the former lorry park on Station Road – replace its Stour Street (Hardwicke House), Meadow Lane and Great Cornard surgeries.

The centre will have 33 clinical rooms, consulting and treatment suites, space for minor operations, group rooms and counselling areas.

There will also be a changing facility that will be available to visitors to the surgery as well as the wider community as well as a pharmacy.

The design statement for the project says: "For many years the practice has been aware that their existing surgery buildings are not suitable for providing necessary services for our patients.

"Our patient numbers have grown dramatically in recent years, and we have no capacity to expand on the current sites.

"The practices cannot provide further education and training opportunities despite keen interest to provide these by the Practice, but also interest in allocating new medical students into the practice."

NHS England, the West Suffolk CCG and the Hardwicke House Group Practice estimate the population is estimated to grow by 18% in the next 5-10 years, and this project will help health chiefs cope with increased demand and offer a wider range of services.

The planning documents add: "The new building will be more accessible to patients with disabilities as it will provide accessible parking located close to the building entrances, legible signage, compliant reception desks and seating, wider corridors and consulting rooms for wheelchair use and accessible toilet facilities.

"General practice has moved more towards prevention rather than solely treatment. Therefore, more healthy people are likely to visit the GPs to gain advice on healthy living.

"This along with an increase in clinics for chronic disease has increased the footfall into primary care facilities over the past 10 years. This trend is likely to continue as more services are transferred into a community setting.

"The new development will inject c.£8m into the Sudbury and wider regional economy at a time where professional services and construction activity is under severe pressure due to the challenges of the Covid pandemic and aftermath of Brexit.

"There will be no job losses as a result of the proposals. The rationale for new premises is to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to cater for future growth in the practice patient list."

More information on the plans (DC/21/05017) can be found here.