New building planned for merged Brighton doctors’ surgeries

Oxford Street new surgery front
Oxford Street new surgery front

A new building to house two merged doctor’s surgeries and a pharmacy is going before planners.

The proposed four-storey building in Oxford Street, Brighton, would serve patients at St Peter’s and North Laine medical centres which merged almost a year ago.

Brighton and Hove City Council officers recommend the Planning Committee approve the scheme when it meets on Wednesday, 9 October.

Public opinions appear split, with four letters supporting and three opposing the plans.

The four-storey building is larger than the existing surgery and would be built on the car park area. It is a similar height to the new building replacing the current Co-Op and Boots.

A letter from members of the Brighton Church of Christ based in Oxford Street, raised the issue of parking.

They said: “Oxford Court Car Park provides the opportunity to the members of our congregation who come from places as far as London, Eastbourne, Sunbury-On-Thames, etc, to fulfil their religious obligations, meeting on Sundays for worship and Thursdays for Bible study.

“Please note that the construction of our church building dates back to the 1800s.

“We kindly call upon the Brighton and Hove Council to revoke their decision to close the car park and consult with local residents and those who park in Oxford Street for business and religious purposes on future proposed plans.”

A business owner whose details do not appear on the council website said: “As a local business this would have a devastating effect.

“Already Oxford Street itself is a purely disabled parking only now and to remove the entire car park for customers visiting the area will be detrimental to my business and others in the same road.

“The design is far too big for the area, way higher than any other building along the street – a total over development project.

“I would advise if there was such a need for the surgery to occupy such a huge premises than they should be looking at relocating to an appropriate site elsewhere.”

They also raised the issue of lack of access to the back of buildings for businesses and people living in the area.

Another commenter was concerned about the height of the building.

They said: “I believe a new medical centre is needed, but think it is one storey too high/could go in one of the empty buildings locally?

“The plans at the moment will see the medical centre blocking light to our house and garden & those of our neighbours, plus people in the centre will be able to look directly into our bedrooms.”

Currently GPs from the North Laine Medical Centre are working in cramped conditions with the existing team from St Peter’s.

Administrative staff are in nearby Citibase in Ditchling Road.

This issue was raised by a supporter who said: “I’d really like to see this development go ahead. The practice is beyond capacity.

“More importantly, it would be great, among the wealth of developments in this town that benefit single profiteers, to see one that benefits local residents.

“If it was ten times the size I’d support it, because it would be 10 times the benefit to the local people and ten times the benefit to our health system.”

The Planning Committee meets in public at Hove Town Hall from 11am on Wednesday, 9 October.