£5m Health Centre and Library Wins Approval

Posted on September 18, 2009. Filed under: LIFT, News stories | Tags: |

The Herald Plymouth | 18 September 2009 

PLYMPTON’S ‘Phoenix’ is set to rise from the ashes of last year’s great library blaze.

Plans for a new £5million library and health centre were given the go-ahead by members of the city’s planning committee yesterday.

The new complex, with a library, GP surgery and NHS clinic and health centre, could be built by the end of next year.

The town’s library was made homeless by a huge fire on the morning of August 20 last year (pictured right).

City councillors approved an outline planning application, which included an artist’s impression of the new building that will go up next to Harewood House on Mudge Way, close to the Ridgeway shopping centre.

Cllr Lynda Bowyer (Con, Eggbuckland) welcomed the scheme as ‘Plympton’s Phoenix’ – a reference to the mythical bird that rises from the ashes.

Cllr Nicky Wildy (Lab, Devonport) said: “I really like the idea of buildings with more than one function.

“It’s pleasing when you see something new and good happening. This will be good for the people of Plympton and good for Plymouth.”

The existing clinic at the Ridgeway could be pulled down in the future, planning officer Jeremy Guise told councillors, but that would be part of a separate planning application.

Terri Beer, Conservative councillor for Plympton Erle, who spoke at the planning meeting, welcomed the application.

“We look to the future of our new library, which will probably be the second biggest in the city,” she said.

“A new, bigger and better library is long overdue in Plympton, and along with our partners ReSound Health we strike a balance in having our new facility with that of a new, state- of-the-art health centre.”

She said the old library had been put up 40 years ago as a temporary measure, adding that the old timber building was neglected and in a poor state of repair.

Adrian Griffin, general manager of ReSound Health, which is behind the new development, told The Herald that work could be completed by the end of next year.

Plympton library has been using a temporary home at the old Jobcentre on the Ridgeway.

ReSound Health is a public-private partnership established by NHS Plymouth as its delivery partner for the procurement of new, purpose-built health facilities. It has so far opened three new buildings in Plymouth: Ernesettle GP Surgery, the Local Care Centre at Mount Gould and most recently, Cattedown Primary Care Centre.

The old wooden 35-metre by 25-metre library building on the Ridgeway, which had housed the library since 1964, held around 27,000 books.

The stock was estimated to be worth about £300,000 and was the largest collection of books destroyed in the city since the Blitz.

The proposed building broadly occupies the site of the old library building and its car park.

Parking moves to the sunken garden and ornamental green space immediately to the west of Harewood House.

Mr Guise said that some specimen trees on the site would be lost, and the new development would create one extra parking space.

The developer has agreed to contribute £28,000 to improve the nearby bus stop and pedestrian crossing.

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