Aylesbury Vale village parish council hopes to raise funds for £1.2m health centre

The project has received support from the Buckingham MP.

By James Lowson
Thursday, 30th September 2021, 7:12 am
Updated Thursday, 30th September 2021, 7:16 am

An Aylesbury Vale parish council is attempting to raise £1.2 million to fund construction of a state-of-the-art health centre.

Long Crendon Parish Council is spending thousands to keep GPs in the village by building a new health facility.

At a parish council meeting on Saturday (September 25), councillors informed residents that £70,000 has already been spent on the planning confirmation.

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Buckingham MP Greg Smith meeting with Department of Health and Social Care Minister Ed Argar

Councillors say, the money had to be spent to meet the pre-commencement conditions set out by Bucks Council, when planning permission was granted in June.

The project has received support from Buckingham MP Greg Smith who met with Department of Health and Social Care Minister Ed Argar asking for financial support.

Mr Smith said: "Over the past year I’ve been working with the community in Long Crendon to support ambitions for a new medical centre in the village.

“I met with Ed Argar MP who is a Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care to fully brief him on the project and press him for financial support from the Government to make this health centre a reality.

“The Minister was extremely engaged in the concept, understood the need for continued primary care in Long Crendon, and rural communities more generally, and has instructed his officials to look at all options available and report back in the next few weeks.”

The parish council has to redesign its strategy regarding the eco-designed building and car park, due to a drainage officers concerns regarding a water soakaway system.

Bucks Council has placed a deadline of mid-December 2021 for the team to start development on land in Greenings.

Addressing the issues laid out by the drainage officer, will cost the parish council additional funds which could reach £10,000.

It's looking to appoint a drainage consultant to carry out a third infiltration test on site.

The parish council says these additional costs readying the major centre is impacting its ability to fund other projects in Long Crendon.

The council says its shelved plans to repair a multi-use games area and access gates at Harroell. Installation of digital speed devices in the village, have also been put on hold.

A recent fete raised £7,000 and one benefactor has donated £10,000 to the cause. The council estimates the total cost of the facility will be between £986,000 and £1,200,000.

Councillor Alex Griffiths said: “In two weeks’ time we hope to have a good idea what is happening, and whether we can get adequate Government support.

As well as asking residents to consider making donations towards the project, the council also wants to quash rumours in the village that there would be no doctors present at the new centre when it is completed.

Lesley Munro-Faure, Unity Health’s practice manager, confirmed doctors would be on site but not on a daily basis.

She also said the practice, which put on hold plans to close the surgery in 2020 after a public outcry and formation of Save Our Surgery group to secure the new centre, would go ahead with closure should the project fail to get underway by December.

Residents posed a number of questions about the project. One asked if the commencement of development deadline could be extended, but was told no.

Another suggested increasing the parish precept to raise funds, which might put up to £5 a week more on each resident’s council bill.

When asked whether the present doctor’s surgery could be sold and whether money raised be contributed, Mrs Munro-Faure explained it was “mortgaged to the hilt”.

People felt other parishes, such as Shabbington, Ickfield and Chearsley, should be involved in fundraising.

Councillor Griffiths said: “The Parish Council is confident it can overcome the technical matters in time to start the development and meet the deadline requirements.

“We have a greater chance of success than failure.”

The council has set-up a charity bank account, donations can be sent to. Potential benefactors are asked to send cheques to the Parish Council Clerk c/o The Pavillion, Chearsley Road, Aylesbury, HP18 9BS, these cheques should be addressed to Phoenix Wellbeing.