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Seaford Health Hub unlikely at Downs site

Lewes District Council has pledged to continue to support health bodies to identify new GP premises in Seaford following a viability study of the Dane Road site in the town centre.

Earlier this year, the council decided that plans for a new health hub at The Downs site in Seaford could not proceed unless it was demonstrated that there was no way to deliver new GP premises at Dane Road.

This followed significant concerns from residents about plans for The Downs site including its "out of town" location and potential impact on green spaces.

As a result, the council helped the NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham & Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) organise a viability study of the Dane Road site for new GP premises. This included the site of Seaford Medical Centre which is owned by NHS Property Services, and the adjacent Richmond Road Car Park.

The viability study is now complete and identifies that a scheme could be feasible if the car park was included in the development, subject to further design work and securing investment. As a consequence, it is now highly unlikely that proposals for a new health hub at The Downs site will be taken forward.

Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council, said: "We welcome the findings of this study for the Dane Road site, having worked in collaboration with our partners for some time to secure the best possible health facilities for Seaford.

"The CCG has been passed the study and we will continue to support health bodies towards realising our joint goal for the benefit of local residents."

Councillor Christine Brett, Vice-Chair of Lewes District Council and Seaford South ward councillor, said: "Many people quite rightly questioned the suitability of The Downs as the place for new health facilities and wanted a more sustainable location for the GP premises.

"The council remains committed to supporting enhanced healthcare provision in Seaford and will do everything it can to help achieve this."

Councillor Christine Robinson said: "As chairperson of the scrutiny committee panel set up to look into plans for Seaford Health Hub at the Downs site, we conducted a thorough review to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed development.

"We heard representations from all interested parties including local GPs, East Sussex Health Care Trust, Wave Leisure Trust, the CCG, members of Seaford Town Council, and fully considered issues raised by residents who had put forward a petition opposing the plan.

"After a comprehensive scrutiny process, we compiled a report and made recommendations in February that were accepted by Cabinet."