Council sets sights on new health and wellbeing hub in Newhaven

Cabinet councillors will consider Lewes District Council plans that could lead to a new health and wellbeing hub in Newhaven as part of the redevelopment of the old Co-op building.

The proposal would incorporate GP services and improved leisure facilities and forms a key part of the council’s Reimagining Newhaven programme.

Councillor James MacCleary, Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council and Newhaven councillor, said: “As a Newhaven resident, I know as well as anyone that we need new GP services in the town and we need them urgently.

“Our local doctors are working in old, small and cramped buildings that don’t bear any comparison with the new medical centres that have been opened in other towns over recent years.

“Newhaven residents must have access modern health facilities and services and that’s why I’m so excited by these latest plans.”

Council officers have been liaising with general practice teams in Newhaven about the proposals, as well as Wave Leisure, the operator of Seahaven Swim and Fitness Centre, to explore how new leisure services can be provided alongside the GPs and support staff.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “The strain on our health service has been clear for years and since the pandemic the challenges are even greater. 

“Better healthcare for Newhaven residents is a priority and I believe that we can alleviate some of pressure on the NHS by also improving physical and mental wellbeing within a new leisure facility.”

The council’s work on the old Co-op building is well advanced, however, the global pressure on supply chains and the impact of inflation is fuelling rapidly rising costs of materials.

With these cost pressures in mind, the council is examining the opportunities to engage primary care services in the final design of the project, with the income generated from that configuration potentially strengthening the overall business case. The provision of space for creative and arts related interests as set out in the original plans, will be accommodated in the now empty Peacocks unit that neighbours the Co-op building.

Councillor MacCleary added: “I’m looking forward to presenting these proposals to my Cabinet colleagues and hearing their thoughts on how we can best work with our partners to achieve the high quality medical, health and wellbeing services that Newhaven deserves.” 

Subject to Cabinet approval, the new business case will be submitted to government for final agreement.

Lewes District Council’s Cabinet committee is meeting on July 7. For more details visit www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk