Community hub plan after NHS pulls plug on new surgery

Visual for new community centre at Stretham

Visual for new community centre at Stretham - Credit: Haysom Ward Miller Architects

Land previously earmarked for a new GP surgery could become a community centre and business hub.  

Stretham parish council has submitted an application for a new village centre at Manor Farm.  

Haysom Ward Miller Architects has drawn up the proposals which are before East Cambridgeshire District Council. 

"Following consultation with the village, the building comprises a collection of rooms to satisfy community needs,” says the architects.  

These will include a multi-purpose hall, function room, community cafe and micro business units. 

The parish council will run the main hall, cafe, meeting rooms, council rooms and function rooms.  

“Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust propose to undertake the management of the micro retail and business units,” says the architects.  

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These will provide “cost effective premises for local start-up businesses, and a venue for those seeking to work nearer to home”.  

The building is arranged as a series of wings around two primary courtyards, one public which forms an entrance court and one more private to enhance the hire of the function rooms. 

Manor Farm has been the site of a Community Land Trust-led housing development at Stretham, with three phases of completed housing and a further fourth phase currently on site.  

Haysom Ward Miller says approval had previously been granted on the site for a GP surgery and six CLT managed office/works units.  

This approval included parking provision for 41 cars, plus further space for an ambulance and portable MSRI scanning unit.  

“Due to recent events the local GP surgery has been unable to push forward the NHS approval of the creation of a new building, and so the site has not yet been developed,” says the architects.  

“The opportunity to propose an alternative community use for the site has arisen from acknowledged community need.  

“Stretham Parish Council and Stretham and Wilburton Community Land Trust have agreed to co-operate with proposals for this new development.” 

The site is located to the east of the main village, at the top of the Manor Farm development where the new road, Petersfield, joins to Plantation Gate.  

Architects say that as part of the consultation process six locations were considered as potential sites for the Community Hub.  

The site chosen “has good pedestrian connections to the rest of the village via Plantation Gate,” says the architects. 

One early objection says ‘wow, without any prior notice or consultation, planning has been submitted for a community centre”. 

Another claims the new community centre “is in the wrong location, too big, too expensive, non-sustainable and will be a burden on local taxpayers and residents”. 

Read the full application here