A PROPOSAL to build a new £3.7 million GP surgery on a field in Minchinhampton has divided opinion in the town.

The plans, to replace Minchinhampton Surgery’s existing site in Bell Lane, with a new purpose built facility on Vosper Field in Cirencester Road, have been submitted to Stroud District Council.

So far, the council has received 87 public comments on the plans, with 45 objections, and 42 declarations of support for the project.

Some residents are saying that the plans should be rejected because the proposed surgery site is outside of the Minchinhampton defined settlement development boundary, is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and will have a detrimental impact on the environment.

Others are arguing that the existing buildings are no longer fit for purpose, and that new facilities would secure GP services in Minchinhampton for many years to come.

Traffic issues have been cited by people on both sides, with those against the plans saying that the town has a high population of elderly individuals who live in and around the town centre and siting the new surgery on the edge of town would mean an increase in car use as more patients would drive there.

But supporters of the proposal say that many patients don’t live in or near the town centre, and have to drive to Bell Lane, where there is inadequate parking, anyway.

Dr Tristan Cooper, GP partner at Minchinhampton Surgery, said: “The doctors are grateful for the many messages of support that we have received. We also take seriously the objections and will do all we can to allay any fears.

“The situation is that the current surgery building was constructed in 1971 and is no longer fit for purpose. A new building is needed that is fit for the 21st Century, which is what our patients and staff deserve.

“At last we believe we have a suitable site, as well as access to funding and a proposal that was approved by the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

“We will do our absolute best to protect wildlife, as well as enhancing the site with a sustainable drainage pond, swales, native hedgerows and log piles. In doing so, we will produce an attractive building and surroundings that patients, staff and the wider community can be proud of.”

See the plans and comment via bit.ly/2PHzCia