Hopes for a new Maybridge medical centre were boosted after a developer changed its plans to enable a surgery’s long-awaited expansion.
Amended plans for a 74-apartment scheme and 1,000 square metre medical facility on the former Lloyds banking hall site, in The Causeway, were approved last Wednesday.
The plans, lodged by Rocco Homes, will enable the relocation of the over-capacity Strand Medical Group, subject to funding.
Planning agent Chris Barker told Worthing Borough Council’s planning committee: “This application really reinforces the values of local engagement in the development process.
“It is a sustainable development meeting the needs of existing and future residents.”
Permission for a similar scheme was granted last year. Plans included commercial space on the ground floor.
But following discussions with the medical centre, the commercial space was instead earmarked for a new surgery.
The number of apartments was reduced by seven to create the floorspace required.
The surgery’s business manager, Janet Kimber, previously told the Herald that the move was subject to funding being found by NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group.
Discussions followed the surgery’s long search for new premises.
Conservative Castle ward councillors, who along with residents lobbied for new medical facilities, welcomed the application.
Councillor Luke Proudfoot said: “It’s great news for Castle ward residents that these plans have been approved and we are one big step closer to a new surgery.
“Fellow ward councillors and I have been working very hard on this issue and I’m grateful to Rocco Homes for listening and amending their plans for this site.
“The work continues as we lobby the local NHS for enough funding to make it all possible.”
The amended plans were unanimously approved.
Councillor Paul Yallop said: “We often set here and we are told we are not considering infrastructure so I welcome this amendment.”
Councillor Hazel Thorpe added: “It is really refreshing that the infrastructure is in place. We talk very much about the need for housing but we need the infrastructure to go with it.”