NHS centre sparks traffic chaos fears
RESIDENTS have launched a petition against plans for a multi-million pound state-of-the-art health centre.
NHS Stoke-on-Trent has lodged a planning application with the city council for the development in Longton.
But a petition and letters of objection have been received from people living near the proposed site, off Heathcote Road and Greendock Street, close to the A50.
They say the development would cause a number of problems including an increase in traffic, noise, parking problems and loss of green space.
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Some also say the new health complex would damage the sense of community in the area.
Harold Grocott, aged 64, of Greendock Street, has signed the petition. He said: "I'm not very happy at all.
"There's nothing for kids around here and now they are taking away that space. I walk my dogs there as well.
"I'm also worried about the traffic it will create. It's already terrible with buses and lorries coming down here, and there are schools nearby.
"It's just not the right site for a new health centre."
John Ridge, aged 66, of Heathcote Road, also has concerns about the traffic. He said: "It will cause problems with parking, and there will be a lot more traffic."
The new Longton South Primary Care Centre, which is set to have 164 parking spaces, would house six GP practices currently based across Longton and Blurton.
An estimated 30,000 patients a year would visit the site.
The consultation period on the planning application ends on September 11, and a decision is due to be made by mid-November.
Another Heathcote Road resident, who asked not to be named, said he believed the decision had already been made.
The 46-year-old said: "At my doctor's surgery there is already a notice up saying they are moving. It seems to me as though they are going to build it no matter what objections come in.
"I'm not opposed to a new health centre, but the size and the location of it. It will be as big as the Phoenix Retail Park, and this has always been a residential area.
"A few years ago the council spent money putting in benches, bins and goalposts and redoing the footpaths, and residents were told it was going to stay as an open space. There will be a lot of extra traffic which the road system can't cope with, plus noise and pollution."
The new centre, which used to be home to a former brickworks and claypit, would offer midwifery, blood collection, quit smoking and other specialist services.
It would cost more than £10 million to construct and equip, plus £750,000 a year to run.
The complex is being funded by Prima 200, the Local Improvement Finance Trust which acts as a partnership between the NHS and the private sector, and would open by 2014.