New surgery plan for Bellshill

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PLANS to rebuild a Bellshill GP surgery destroyed by fire over three years ago will be submitted at the end of this month.

The John Street Surgery was demolished in November 2009 after an electrical fault caused a major blaze and since then has been operating out of Bellshill Community Health Clinic in Greenmoss Place.

Practice manager Sandra Gibson said: “We are very grateful that NHS Lanarkshire were able to accommodate us in the health clinic, but we really don’t have enough space so the plan was always to move back to John Street.

“I don’t think we appreciated just how central we were in Bellshill, to us we’d just moved down the road, but a lot of patients do tell us we’re now a bit out the way so I think everyone will be pleased when we get back.”

The surgery site is owned by North Lanarkshire Council and with the nearby Morrisons supermarket planning an extension at one point, the practice believed it may have to look elsewhere and did consider the former Miners’ Welfare site in nearby Thorn Road.

However, the retail giant has now shelved those thoughts and the final touches are being put to a planning application for a two-storey surgery.

Sandra said: “Morrisons couldn’t expand with us there so it did look like we may have to move, but after they decided not to move forward with the idea we have been free to draw up plans.

“The new building will be two-storey as regulations have changed since the original one was built in 1983 and we have to have a greater floor area, but all patient services will still be based at ground level.

“We realise things have taken a while, but time just slipped by with the issues regarding the site and running a GP practice doesn’t give you much time to concentrate on drawing up plans for a new building.

“However, we are just about there now and aim to submit the plans to North Lanarkshire Council by the end of the month, working on the basis that if we receive planning permission then the new surgery will open in summer 2014.”

Former Mossend West and Thorndean councillor Joe Gorman brought up the lack of progress at the latest meeting of Bellshill Community Council.

He said: “There were a lot of complaints from people I had been talking to that the situation wasn’t being addressed so it’s good that at last something is being done.”

Central Scotland list MSP Richard Lyle hopes his former colleagues on the council will grant planning permission.

He said: “I’m delighted a planning application is due to be submitted and hope North Lanarkshire Council will support it in order to reinstate an important facility back in the town, while freeing up space at the health clinic can only benefit the NHS.”