New homes in Brixington: GPs 'won't cope'

PUBLISHED: 08:15 25 November 2014 | UPDATED: 08:15 25 November 2014

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Brixington’s only doctors’ surgery would be ‘unable to cope’ if new homes caused the population to grow by 1,500, it was revealed this week.

Planning experts Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners on Tuesday unveiled proposals to the public for 150 new homes on a wedge of green land south of Marley Drive.

The blueprint, on public show at Brixington Community Church, includes up to 60 badly-needed ‘affordable’ new homes for local families and a new community park.

An initial ‘outline’ planning bid could be filed with district chiefs by Christmas and passed as early as June.

But with Goodmores Farm next door already earmarked for 350 homes, and neither scheme planning a new GP practice, there are fears that Brixington’s Raleigh Surgery in Pines Road will be overwhelmed.

If both developments are built, Brixington’s population would swell by 13 per cent from its present level of just over 12,000 people.

The blueprint shows that both developments would be joined at the hip, separated by a country park, forming one large 500-home housing estate.

The Journal asked the Raleigh surgery’s Dr Karen Knight if they would be able to cope. “In our present state, absolutely not,” she said.

“We would need substantial investment in a new partner and either larger premises or increase the size of the current premises.”

A planning consultant at the homes presentation told the Journal that 500 homes simply ‘wasn’t enough’ to justify a new surgery.

But he pledged that the developer would contribute to infrastructure if required to do so by East Devon District Council.

He said: “A contribution (towards infrastructure) would be made if, and when, it is deemed necessary by the local authority.”

Brixington’s councillor, David Chapman, said: “They would need a doctors’ surgery up there - and it’s not just the numbers.

“Have you tried walking from Bystock Road (the proposed entrance to the new development) to the Pines Road shops or up to Brixington Parade? It is a long, long way.

“There is no doubt that we need more houses in Exmouth, and I have no doubt that at some point they will be in Brixington because there is nowhere else to build them.

“What everybody is tiptoeing around is that there is a chronic shortage of GPs in Devon as a whole, and that needs to be addressed.”

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