A SURGERY in a village near Cardiff will be replaced with a new building two miles away despite only being accessible for most by car.
Planning permission was approved on Wednesday, May 19, for a new GP surgery in Rhydlafar, which will replace the Pentyrch Medical Centre.
Residents living in Pentyrch, however, have complained that to get to the new surgery they will have to travel down Church Road: a winding country lane with no footpath, cycle path or bus route. They added patients would struggle to get there without a car.
Developers building the new surgery promised to pay £15,000 towards a “community transport facility” to solve the problem, but no details about this have been agreed yet.
Catherine Heyworth petitioned the planning committee at Cardiff council against granting permission for the new surgery. She told councillors the plans were “vehemently opposed” by local communities in Pentyrch, Rhydlafar and Creigiau.
“The £15,000 will not even sustain travel for Pentyrch for six months. And what happens after that?”
The NHS has deemed the current surgery in Pentyrch not fit for purpose, too small and cramped. It is housed inside portacabins behind the village hall. Planning agents for the developer said the new two-storey building would provide much better health services.
The new surgery will also be located just north of Plasdŵr, a housing development northwest of Cardiff where thousands of houses are being built. The Welsh Government put up funding for the new surgery in December 2017.
The building will be located on vacant green land off the junction of Rhydlafar Drive and Llantrisant Road. It will have six consulting rooms, two treatment rooms, a pharmacy and 28 car parking spaces.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, details are scant of the proposed “community transport facility” linking patients in Pentyrch with the replacement surgery, according to council planning officer Jacqueline Howard.
“Details are still to be confirmed. This is uncertain at the moment because the bus industry has been badly affected by the Covid pandemic, so it’s not possible to give any further details of what this new service might be.”
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the plans, despite the transport concerns. They discussed whether permission for the new building could come with a condition for the developer to provide a bus route from the new surgery to Pentrych.
But council planning officers said this would be “disproportionate” and advised against it. Concerns were still raised however about the lack of sustainable ways to travel from Pentyrch to the new surgery.
Councillor Michael Jones-Pritchard said:
“I have a lot of concerns about this. Does £15,000 overcome sustainability? That’s not how it should be working.
“But no matter how much concern we have, it’s not something we’re able to refuse because it doesn’t come under planning legislation.”