MORE than 800 local people are urging the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) to build a health centre on Eagleswell Road, Llantwit Major where a former primary school closed in 2015.
The disused plot of land is currently owned by the Vale of Glamorgan council and is allocated for 72 potential houses in the local development plan.
But campaigners want the council to allow the health board to build a new health centre there, complaining the town’s current surgeries aren’t up to scratch.
Councillor Gwyn John, of the Llantwit First Independent party, is organising the petition. He raised concerns that the hundreds of new houses in and around Llantwit Major aren’t seeing the increased investment in local public services needed to cater for the growing population.
“There are more and more houses in the town. There’s hardly any green space left and our services are really struggling.”
Two doctors surgeries currently cater for the town: Coastal Vale and Western Vale. Cllr John claimed Coastal Vale is “at capacity” and the Western Vale building is “over 50 years old”.
He said: “The actual building needs replacing, it’s not in great condition. It needs replacing and modernising.”
Cardiff and Vale UHB is drawing up plans for major changes in how clinical services are delivered. This will likely see three ‘health and wellbeing centres’ with services like x-rays, out-of-hours GPs, community mental health teams, and ambulatory care.
The health board is also planning nine ‘wellbeing hubs’, either developing existing places like health centres, leisure centres or libraries; or in new buildings such as Maelfa in Cardiff. These wellbeing hubs will include GP services, midwifery, and primary mental health care.
The idea is to move clinical services away from large hospitals like the University Hospital of Wales, at the Heath in Cardiff, avoiding the need for people to travel long distances for care.
Cllr John supports this move but says residents in the western part of the Vale of Glamorgan are currently underserved with health services — and with the hundreds of new houses being built in the area, Llantwit would be ideal for a new health centre.
He is hoping to get many more signatures for his petition to build the new health centre in Llantwit Major, with a table set up on the precinct in the town on Saturday, for residents who aren’t on the internet or haven’t seen the campaign online yet.
He said: “It’s all very well building homes, that’s fine. But we have to have the infrastructure.”
The health board said any investment in new health and wellbeing centres or wellbeing hubs is some time away.
A Cardiff and Vale UHB spokesperson said:
“The intention is for a wellbeing hub to be placed in the western Vale, but this may be some years away as part of our overall plan. In terms of where the site will be based, this will be subject to an engagement process.
“There will be a health and wellbeing centre in the Vale; work will be commencing in terms of engagement in relation to this within the next few months.”
A Vale of Glamorgan council spokesperson added:
“Any need for a new medical centre would be a matter for the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
“No planning application for such a building has been submitted and currently the land in question has been allocated as a significant strategic development site for the council’s house-building programme. Under the local development plan, it would be used to meet the housing needs of those on the council’s waiting list.”