Readers will no doubt be aware that there are plans to build a community / medical centre in Ashton. I must emphasise that this centre will not just be a medical centre - it must have other facilities that will serve the community of Ashton.
The scheme is now at Stage 1 which means putting the business case together for the Board of the PCT. This will be a detailed document identifying the site, the size and cost of the scheme backed by detailed analysis of the health needs of the residents of Ashton and other services that the could be provided from this new facility.
I am a member of the patient/public community group which is looking to reach as many people in Ashton as possible in order to ask them what they would like to see in this centre. As part of this process representatives of local groups have already been made aware of the plans for this centre. The aim of the consultation process which will begin in earnest at the beginning of November will be to inform local residents of the plans for the centre by contacting them directly,by holding exhibitions and open days throughout the area. Details of the consultation process will be given as soon as they are finalised by the committee.The results of the consultation will then be taken to the board of the PCT.
The preferred site at the moment for the new building is Ashton town hall.Other sites have been looked at - one reason for the delay in beginning the scheme - but have been rejected for reasons such as land costs, access to the sites and land conditions.In the current climate the Government has made it clear that it expects public bodies to work closely together to ensure the best value for money. This has been happening in Wigan under the Capital Asset Pathfinder programme. Using a site owned by the Council which could be soon surplus to the Council's requirements will ensure that a public sector owned asset is used appropriately to support a new public sector scheme. It will also help towards regenerating Ashton town centre.
I will give details of the consultation process in this blog. I would be very interested in any ideas readers have for services that could be included in this centre - remember it will be a community centre as well as a medical facility.
Please contact me if you require any further information.