Altrincham’s recently-completed health & wellbeing centre could stand largely empty after Trafford CCG announced it was “revisiting its long-term strategy” for the site, despite three GP surgeries, a paediatric service provider, and an NHS service centre being originally lined up to move in.
Three GP practices – St John’s Medical Centre, Barrington Road Medical Centre, and the Altrincham Medical Practice – had provisionally agreed to move in when the building was first planned in 2015, but Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group has now said there are “no plans” for the GP practices to relocate.
Similarly, a paediatric services operator was to move in to the second floor, with an NHS service centre on the third floor, but again, the CCG said there were “no immediate plans” for the paediatric service provider to move in, while the top floor “is not expected to be used as an NHS service centre”.
Much of the design for the building’s interior space had been brought forward with the specific occupiers in mind, but the providers are understood to have put the move on hold with discussions ongoing between the CCG and NHS Property Services on the costs of the relocation.
It is understood all parties are hopeful of resolving the issues so the building can be occupied, but a final decision is set to be made by the CCG at a meeting on Tuesday 30 October, which will determine the next steps for the building.
As it stands, only a small portion of the 88,000 sq ft building will be occupied once contractor Bowmer & Kirkland completes snagging works in the next few weeks.
A statement from Trafford CCG said: “As part of the original plans for the site, NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group was proposing to use the site as a community hub including GP and community services which would deliver both primary and community care services to the population of South Trafford.
“The CCG is now re-visiting its long-term strategy on health provision and is discussing options with its NHS partners and the local authority to ensure the best health outcomes and the best use of public money, before reporting to its next governing body meeting at the end of this month.”
The CCG has undertaken a series of cost-cutting measures in the last 12 months, including cutting back prescriptions for over-the-counter drugs, stopping paying for gluten-free food, and delaying surgery for smokers or obese people until after they have lost weight or have stopped smoking.
These were agreed in March, although a plan to cut IVF treatments in Trafford to save money was scrapped.
Altrincham Library, set to relocate from its existing site at Clarendon House, will move as planned and is set to open before Christmas. The council is required to give a six-week notice to the library’s existing users before it can open at its new location and is planning to advance this in the coming weeks.
Kevin Procter, Trafford Council’s executive member for communities and housing, said: “We are very proud of the fact that we are investing in a new library when local authorities across the country are closing them down.
“We, as a council, are passionate about our libraries and believe they are vital to the community. I look forward to the library opening – it will serve thousands of families and individuals across the borough and is sure to be a success.”
Next week, the building’s developer Citybranch will complete the sale of the building to Canada Life, which agreed to forward-fund the project. NHS Property Services has the option to acquire the freehold lease of the building after 30 years for a nominal sum of £1.