Altrincham’s £20m new health and wellbeing centre was finally completed last week – but it’s still not known which services or practitioners are going to be based there.
That’s the bombshell revelation contained within a joint statement released by Trafford Council and NHS Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) this afternoon.
Despite the practical completion on Friday of a building project lasting over two years, the CCG is to “revisit” its health provision strategy and is “considering all opportunities for the use of the building”.
Two years ago, the CCG said the 88,000 sq ft building – to be called the South Trafford Health and Well-being Centre – would incorporate GP health services, the Trafford Care Co-ordination Centre, a mix of community services and therapies, a pharmacy, and clinical suites and training areas, including a minor surgery suite.
The new facility – built on the site of the former Altrincham General – was “part of a wider plan to modernise GP and community health services across Trafford, in order to provide more joined-up services for residents… This is part of the transformation of health and social care services across Trafford.”
But “all options” will now be considered at a meeting of the governing body later this month “to ensure the best health outcomes and the best use of public money”.
Anthony Hassall, interim Accountable Officer at Trafford CCG, said: “We are delighted that the Altrincham development is now complete, at a superb site in the town centre. The original plan in 2015 was to provide a GP offer at the site. The CCG is now considering all opportunities for the use of the building to ensure it is utilised to best effect and will consider viable options at the next meeting of the Governing Body.”
The development must raise serious questions for senior council officials as to why the service provision of the new landmark building was not finalised a long time ago – planning permission was secured back in February 2016.
The building has been managed by local developer Citybranch, who agreed a £35m deal with investment company Canada Life to fund its construction.
NHS Property Services are now leasing the building from Canada Life for an initial annual rent of £1.311m, for a term of 30 years. They will surely want to know why they are in effect paying for an unoccupied building with no timetable as to when tenants will be moving in.
The only tenant so far confirmed to move in is a non-health one – Altrincham Library, who will be moving from their current Stamford New Road site before Christmas.