RESIDENTS in Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, are a step closer to a new “state of the art” doctors’ surgery after councillors backed revised plans.

NHS funding is already in place for the proposed development on land off Stokesley Road being brought forward by Assura Aspire Limited on behalf of Dr Mike Lakeman and the Borough Road and Nunthorpe Medical Group.

Nine members of Middlesbrough Council’s planning and development committee voted to green light the plans with one abstaining.

Council members, along with Nunthorpe Parish Council, broadly supported the scheme, although there were 18 objections received from members of the public with the biggest area of concern pedestrian safety.

The original plans foresaw pedestrian and vehicle access to the new surgery being adjacent to one another.

But council planning chief Paul Clarke said the proposed vehicle access was now being moved 50 yards south down Stokesley Road – closer to the roundabout – in a bid to allay worries about potential conflict between those on foot and people using cars.

Mr Clarke also said “sight lines” for anyone emerging from or entering the GP surgery site were in line with national guidance.

Morgan McClintock, chairman of the parish council who spoke at a meeting of the  committee, said there was strong support from the community to relocate the current medical centre at Nunthorpe shops in Guisborough Road to the more modern premises.

But he raised doubts about how pedestrians would get to the surgery along the main road. 

He said: “If a patient needs to walk to the doctors from Guisborough Road down the east side of Stokesley Road at the point where they are getting tantalisingly close to the building they cannot get any further because there is no footpath.

“They can walk on the road to the point of maximum danger due to a bend in the road, or they can cross the road to the west side, walk the length of the building on the other side of the road and then cross the road a second time back to the east side and the entrance to the medical centre.

“The parish council is asking that this ‘forgotten’ footpath is acknowledged as a problem that needs to be resolved.

“Those of us who do not drive a car should not be forgotten.”

A report acknowledged that the existing footpath fell below what would be designed in a new environment.

But it said the additional footfall expected from the new doctors along with land constraints meant any new works were not justified or viable.

The report said provision for bicycles was being made as part of the scheme along with 30 car parking spaces.

Nunthorpe ward councillor Jon Rathmell said he believed this number was not sufficient to meet demand and could mean cars parking along Stokesley Road.

Councillors were told there was land available for the surgery to expand if demand rose in future – with space available for a possible new pharmacy and extra parking spaces. 

Nunthorpe councillor Mieka Smiles said she was fully supportive of the application and said the current GP facility was not fit for purpose.

She said: “I think it will be a fantastic addition and much needed in Nunthorpe.”

Agent Steve Buckley, of planning consultants Peacock and Smith, said: “The scheme will deliver a state of the art GP surgery to meet the needs of existing and future residents of Nunthorpe.

“It will allow for more consulting and better waiting rooms and support the practice with their long term service aspirations.”

The new surgery is being built on agricultural land near the Grey Towers estate and forms part of the Nunthorpe Grange site which is allocated for new housing under the council’s development plan.