A CONCERNED councillor is calling for concrete answers as to why long-awaited plans to build a new state-of-the-art medical centre in Sible Hedingham are still not underway.

Braintree Council’s planning committee approved plans to build the new Hedinghams Medical Centre at Osier Way in Sible Hedingham in April.

The centre is expected to serve 12,000 patients when it is built by OneMedical Property, who will also serve as the building’s landlord.

The centre will be run by existing medical staff based at surgeries in the new centre’s catchment area and all parties said at the time they were looking forward to seeing the medical centre built by summer 2023.

However, months later, Hedinghams councillor Jo Beavis says building work is yet to begin.

She said: “The building of the centre was supposed to commence last spring following the meeting of the Braintree Council planning committee where I recommended approval for the centre which met with unanimous support from the committee.  

“Members of the planning committee were advised of the urgency to approve the planning application to build the centre as the lease at the Falcon Square surgery, Castle Hedingham would lapse in the spring of 2023.

“I understand that the lease has been extended by approximately a year but I am concerned that the lease may lapse again before the new medical centre opens, and so I call on the NHS to set out their contingency plan for the patients of the Falcon Square Surgery if this were to happen.”

“The residents of the Hedinghams have waited over a decade for the medical centre to be built.

“This delay again leaves residents wondering if their much-wanted medical centre will in fact be built.

“The Falcon Square Surgery is a Grade II listed building, falling into disrepair.

“I feel that we, in the Hedinghams, deserve concrete answers.”

A spokesman for OneMedical Property said: “OneMedical Property and the Hedingham Medical Centre team are working with all parties to make sure that the project to build the Hedingham Medical Centre progresses as quickly as possible. 

"Discussions are underway with the local commissioners - NHS Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board - to achieve a timely sign-off, to enable the earliest possible start date for works to commence.

"OneMedical Property and the practice appreciate the community’s patience and ongoing support as we work through the details involved. We will share any updates as soon as they’re available.”