Council To Re-Consult On Plans To Close Bedford Park Surgery
Local MP Rupa Huq intervenes following public anger over lack of notice
Ealing Council is to carry out a fresh consultation on a planning application to close Bedford Park Surgery and turn it into flats.
The decision comes following shock and anger at the lack of notice of the announcement and the intervention of local MP Rupa Huq, who queried whether the necessary public notification requirements had been met relating to the application. She also said the application should be put before the Planning Committee.
An Ealing Council spokesperson said, “The council has fulfilled its statutory consultation requirements for this application. As part of the normal process, notices were displayed at Bedford Park Surgery and a public notice was also printed in the Ealing Gazette.
Many people had said they were upset about the lack of notice about the proposal with the deadline to make a comment on the application last Wednesday (12 February).
The planning application (195438FUL) has been made to Ealing Council for a change of use at the site at 55 South Parade and to build three flats.
The semi-detached property has served as a doctors’ surgery for decades. The application states that, “It is intended that The Bedford Park Surgery will close and all patients will be allocated to nearby GP surgeries in accordance with NHS procedures. The property will therefore be vacant and the key design principle is to return the property into residential use”.
The application has been made on behalf of Dr John Keen, a GP at the surgery.
MP Rupa Huq has written to Ealing Council saying, "As I’m sure you can appreciate, I’ve had many residents contact me to raise concern about the proposed closure of their GP surgery, therefore the outcome of the application is highly sensitive in nature.
"I would therefore like this application to be considered before a planning committee. Could you please advise whether this can be arranged?
"On a different note, can you advise me as to whether all necessary public notification requirements have been met for this application by the Council?"
The site is within the Acton Green Conservation area and residents were unaware of the plan until a site notice appeared outside recently.
The application was received and validated on 23 December last year. The Ealing Council web site says that the ‘standard’ consultation for the application started on 17 January and the plan was advertised in the press on 22 January. A date of Sunday 16 February was originally given as the ‘determination deadline’.
In the ‘Design and Access Statement’ submitted with the application it is claimed “As the proposals are small in scale and simple in nature it has not been considered necessary to undertake any specific consultations in this regard”.
Ealing Council normally publicise planning applications in the Ealing Gazette. This is distributed by depositing copies at various points throughout the borough but it is believed that there are no deposit points within a mile of the surgery. A number of residents are questioning the validity of the application on this basis as the relevant legislation requires the press notice to be in a newspaper 'circulating in the locality'. Is claimed that, as the Ealing Gazette does not meet this statutory minimum requirement, that the original notice of the application was invalid and that, if Ealing Council only use the Ealing Gazette again, the reconsultation would not satisfy the requirements of the relevant legislation.
In response to messages of concern from patients the surgery replied with the following statement, "Dr Keen is retiring at the end of the year, and as the property owner he is currently considering all the options regarding the property. There are no planned changes in the services provided by The Bedford Park Surgery and patients can be assured that their care will continue as it has always done.
"Similarly there are no planned changes in staff, apart from Dr Keen's retirement. Patients and staff will be kept informed if there are to be any changes regarding The Bedford Park Surgery and its situation. In the meantime please rest assured the surgery is not closing."
There are 3,360 patients currently registered with the practice and there is concern that should the surgery close it may become difficult for those displaced to find alternative NHS provision in the area. The Chiswick Health Centre is to close for redevelopment and many of the 20,000 patients there may also be looking to find a new GP. The alternative provision for the Health Centre is in Stamford Brook and not close enough to bus routes for people with limited mobility.
We have asked Dr Keen and the Bedford Park Surgery for comment.
Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group, who are responsible for GP services in the area, issued a comment in response to our query saying :"The practice is looking at future site options, but no decisions have been made at this time."
You can comment on the proposal online.
February 16, 2020