New Sidmouth health centre hopes revealed

PUBLISHED: 14:04 20 December 2011

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Archant

But docs fear bid could be "dead in the water".

DOCTORS fear their hopes of a brand new health centre and library for Sidmouth will be “dead in the water” if £600,000 set aside for the project is lost.

GPs this week revealed their proposed vision for a complete rebuild of facilities in Blackmore Drive for the first time – as the fate of the crucial county council funding hangs in the balance.

Dr Duncan Hall hit back over claims he and colleagues needed to “sort themselves out” – branding comments by county councillors Roger Croad and Stuart Hughes as “bizarre” and “galling”.

Dr Hall said practice leaders thought negotiations with Devon County Council (DCC) were going to plan until they read remarks in the Herald last Friday.

Dr Hall refuted claims GPs ‘couldn’t make up their minds’ over a project to completely re-develop both the health centre and library.

A sum of £600,000 has been set aside for library improvements for four years.

“We don’t know if the money is gone,” said Dr Hall. “Our impression was if it had gone then the project was dead in the water.

“This is tax-payers money, so what do the people want to see? They have to choose between a brand new health centre and library, or sticking with it as it is. The people of Sidmouth should be able to make the decision.”

Sidmouth county councillor Mr Hughes said he was fighting to ensure the cash was spent in his ward.

He said yesterday that talks were on-going, and DCC leader John Hart was now involved.

“I don’t think it’s fair on library users to lose that money,” said Cllr Hughes.

“We have got to get this sorted out. The money is not gone - it’s still Sidmouth’s.”

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