HALSTEAD Town Council has unanimously backed plans to open a new GP surgery on a hospital site.

NHS Property Services submitted the plans last month in a bid to convert Halstead Hospital’s former x-ray block into a surgery.

The site consists of a vacant single-story building within the hospital complex.

The application is asking permission for change of use to a GP surgery.

The proposed development will include minor changes to the internal layout of the building, however the outside appearance of the building will not be altered.

The plans include a reception and waiting room, three consulting rooms and one treatment room, as well as an interview and virtual consulting room, and toilets and staff facilities.

The proposal has been heavily supported by residents.

The Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board also backed the plans, saying: “The ICB fully supports this planning application.

“The Elizabeth Courtald Surgery currently operates with a deficit space compared to the nationally set standards for primary healthcare facilities.

“The additional capacity created by this proposal would significantly reduce this existing deficit and provide additional consulting rooms for the delivery of services to patients.”

The plans come after the nearby ward block reopened its doors for the first time in more than two years at the beginning of December.

It reopened on a four-month contract which would have seen services provided until the end of March.

In an update last week, the hospital announced it will remain open for another year.

At a town council meeting on Monday, councillors discussed the plans, giving the proposals their full support.

The council had previously mentioned the plans in last month’s meeting, later saying it “welcomed the news”.

In the meeting, councillor Peter Caulfield said: "I can't see any possible reason for objecting to the plans."

"In fact we should be welcoming it", added councillor Malcolm Fincken.

Councillors then unanimously agreed to support the proposal.

Braintree Council's planning committee will rule on the application.