Westwood Health Campus plan with GP surgery, care home, assisted living, children’s nursery and commercial units given green light

Westwood Health Campus plan

Proposals for a new Westwood Health Campus have been given the green light at a Thanet council planning meeting.

Councillors at the meeting last night (June 26) agreed to defer to officers for approval when safeguarding terms and developer contribution agreements are completed.

Developer Quinn Estates aims to create a primary medical care facility, a 70 flat extra care/assisted living building, an 8o-bed care home,  up to 9,253sqm of commercial floorspace, and a children’s nursery at land off New Haine Road at the rear of Westwood Sainsburys.

The extra-care facility will be provided as 100% affordable rent housing, to be operated by provider Preferred Homes.

As part of the agreement there is a requirement for all occupiers to meet eligibility criteria, which shall include having a social care need, physical or learning disability, or mental health illness, and being listed on the council’s housing register.

There is also an obligation for the submission of a care package for the care home, to include an element of dementia care.

Assisted living Clague Architects LLP

The plan has been amended to include up to 9,253sqm of commercial floor space. The nursery location has also been moved away from the road and there are some height alterations to the buildings.

The medical care facility has been earmarked as the new premises for The Grange GP surgery which is currently based at the Montefiore Medical Centre in Dumpton Park Drive. East Cliff GPs, also at the Montefiore centre, will not be moving out of the premises and are hoping to expand the services they provide at the site.

GP Surgery Image Clague Architects LLP

The Grange says the current surgery building is no longer big enough to serve patients’ needs and does not have the space to be able to provide the clinical or administrative functions required to care for an increasing population.

Moving to the new site will double the floorspace of the practice and mean East Cliff GPs could potentially expand services at the Ramsgate site. Discussions between East Cliff and Invicta Health are expected to take place to look at this issue.

During a public event last year Julie Hill, Practice Manager and Non Clinical Partner at The Grange, explained how the new surgery would have more space for staff, patients, better seating and bathroom facilities, and room for group consultations. There would also be increased capacity for services including physiotherapy and ultrasound and minor surgery as well as room for other health organisations and groups and possible shared facilities with other GP surgeries.

Dr Fraser Newton and Practice Manager Julie Hill from The Grange

The surgery’s diabetic lead Dr Fraser Newton, who currently has to work one day a week from home as well as completing admin away from the surgery, previously said: “Having a purpose built, more modern building will mean having different services that we can’t do now.

“We are looking at developing and improving the diabetic service and having group consultations. We will pilot the diabetic group and then look at groups for conditions such as asthma and COPD.

“The room could also be used by the voluntary sector and other health organisations.”

There will also be an expanded ultra scan service, dermatology clinics and out-of-hospital clinics at the new site.

The Grange says all patients will remain on the books unless they choose to find a new doctor.

There are five surgeries in Ramsgate which between them cover the same area as The Grange and will take on patients according to capacity There would be a new catchment area for new patients at the Westwood site.

Amended layout

At the meeting last night Chris Pragnall, of Quinn Estates, said the proposal was a “unique opportunity to create a specialist health campus” with a number of other uses going “hand in hand.” He also pointed to the jobs that would be created by the nursery and the commercial element.

Quinn Estates says the commercial units would provide 120 jobs if all of the units were to be storage, 244 jobs if all of the units were to be industrial, and 715 jobs if all of the units were to be offices. The nursery is expected to employ seven staff. The extra care facility will provide 49 jobs and the care home another 100 jobs.

Nursery Image Clague Architects LLP

One concern raised at the meeting was how the site will be served in terms of a bus service. Currently the closest bus stops to the site are by the access at Sainsburys and Cllr Jenny Matterface pointed out there was just one service a day at that route, which connects to Minster and Canterbury.

A report to councillors says: “As part of the housing development on Eurokent, financial contributions were secured to provide a new bus, along with bus shelters, which will provide a bus stop option for this development.

“EuroKent housing secured a contribution to fund one additional bus, and new bus shelters. For this application it is again considered important to secure a proportionate financial contribution towards bus service improvements and/or prioritisation along the A256, which would enable the improvement of bus services along this corridor.”

Care home Image Clague Architects LLP

Cllr Becky Wing said she was “90%” in favour of the development but had concerns over those Grange patients who may not be able to travel to Westwood and the impact on Grange and East Cliff patients plus the loss of access to scanning services at the Montefiore site.

She also questioned how the build would be phased. The plans say phase 1 would be delivered in the first 2 years and would include the medical facility and care home. Phase 2 would begin within the first 5 years and would include the assisted living, children’s nursery and commercial elements.

Councillors voted to defer and delegate the plan for approval by officers.

Following the meeting Mark Quinn, CEO and Chairman of Quinn Estates, said: “We are excited to gain planning permission for Thanet Health Campus, which marks our first development in Thanet. Not only will this be an exemplary health campus which will enhance the healthcare provision for local people, it also represents significant employment opportunities.

“Alongside the jobs created by the medical campus, there will also be a significant boost in employment from the commercial element of the scheme.

“We’re also extremely proud that the scheme is 100% affordable housing, including an extra care facility for the most vulnerable members of the community. Quinn Estates is looking forward to bringing forward this project and making a real difference to the people of Thanet.”
Julie Hill, from The Grange Practice, added: “We are absolutely delighted by the decision to approve the Health Campus. Our primary problem as a surgery currently is that we have simply run out of space to serve the needs of our patients and ensure we continue to be able to care for an increasing population.
“We will be able to employ more GPs and nurses as well as expanding our community clinical team, ultrasound and dermatology services to reduce waiting times.  Co-location with the other health users on the campus will also offer a fantastic opportunity for joint work and a more integrated population health approach for patients.
“Patients already on our list will be able to remain on our list once we move and we are also discussing with East Cliff Practice, which will remain at Montefiore Medical Centre, about the way forward – including minimising any impact on those unable to access the new facilities.”

25 Comments

  1. Which bus service will connect East Cliff patients with the new Practice, in a field behind Sainsbury’s at WWX?

      • It will make getting to the Grange practice much more awkward-as well as taking longer- for current local patients. I know several people who are registered at the grange, live very close to it, and don’t have a car. Going to the Grange is currently a short walk for them – will they be able to transfer to the East Cliff practice?

        • At the open public meeting put on by The Grange earlier this year [one of] the GP director[s] of The Grange informed members of the public that if/when the move by the The Grange to Westwood is confirmed a part of their wider negotiations to move is to include liaison with the owners of the Eastcliff Practice (Invicta Health who own c.5 GP Practices) for the transfer of patients who do not wish to move with The Grange to Westwood. This will be subject to Invicta Health negotiating extending their lease with the property owners and taking on the lower ground floor of the Montefiore surgery. Unfortunately, nothing can be written in stone but that is their stated intention.

      • I was most surprised to have a letter from my surgery recently saying in regard to your ongoing care.

        I wasn’t aware I had any such thing-five years without having access to a doctor, even via a phone consultation when they request me to book one as per the instruction of the hospital writing to them & then get told they have no spaces & ring back in a month & you might get lucky. Usually they are due an inspection & so pretend they are interested in your health-so they can tick all the boxes-if the inspectors can be bothered to turn up.

    • Ive had a letter from The Grange surgery asking my opinion on their proposed relocation & been led to believe that East Cliff surgery will be staying where they are now & having both floors to offer more medical procedures.

  2. I’m disappointed that my surgery is moving up to westwood, a place I try to avoid. I don’t wish to travel up there from Ramsgate town centre to visit my ‘local’ GP. That is if I don’t have to be ill for a month before I can get an appointment!!!!
    I’m sure many others won’t wish to go up there for their GP’s either. Bad decision made…… Seems to be becoming Westwood cross New Town…..

    • Not ‘becoming’. Always has been. Westwood Cross has been called a “town centre” since it was built 20 or whatever years ago. They put a sign up originally calling it Westwood Town Centre but took the sign down after so many objections, but if you read or listen to any of the planning applications in and around that area you will always hear it being called a “town centre” still.

      • Westwood doesn’t feel like a town centre. It has nothing except shops and not safe for pedestrians. It’s a horrible place.

  3. ANOTHER SILLY IDEA BY THIS SILLY COUNCIL- WESTWOOD CROSS SHOULD NEVER BEEN BUILT ALONG WITH THE LARGE SAINSBURYS WHICH IS AN EYESORE-ALONG WITH THE HOUSES THAT ARE GOING UP. HAINE ROAD LIKE DRIVING THROUGH LONDON.

  4. its impossible to get an appointment at the present location , most of the staff up there think they are consultants , it is mainly manned by jumped up clowns, i dread to think what this new surgery will be like ? there will be thousands more patients from the new houses , haine road is a nightmare to travel , i think we will be looking for a new surgery.

  5. I do not disagree with most of the comments posted regarding the issue, however everyone moans that with every development there are never surgeries, dentists, schools built to support the influx of people increasing demand. Although this is taking away from one area of high demand to try and resolve a forthcoming issue, so is not a solution and there is not a new school or dentist, some would argue at least a surgery is opening at the new development.

  6. Is the planning application that goes way back when and was earmarked for a new surgery not move out existing one and others we need new GP surgery and where was the car show room ..tdc planning officers taking us for mugs on quad bikes.
    Oh then there was planes over your smear test being done cause freight cannot wait up at Manston

    Disappointed again in NPPF

  7. Sounds good but why so long to build, so looks like maybe a 5-7 plus year to get full service and by then still the same shortfall. Sure can be completed in 3 max

  8. Shouldn’t this be a new surgery rather than a surgery moving? It is nigh on impossible to get an appointment at the Grange as it is. Antiquated systems and an obsession with urgent appointments only seems to me their current approach. Perhaps when they move they’ll update the woeful website and dump the online appointment Klinic system which is an exercise in the futile. The phone line also says press 1 for appointments but you can’t actually make an appointment on the phone. Unless the receptionist goes thru the Klinic form on the phone. Hardly private or dignified for a patient. I’ll be aiming to transfer to Eastcliff and I hope the Grange GPs do the same!

    This practice should have expanded to the old Wilko building. Parking in the multi story right next door.

    Quinn seems intent on putting concrete boxes all over Kent.

    Westwood is already gridlocked. I’m really not sure what thought has gone into the road network.

  9. I am at the Eastcliff surgery, like most other patients getting to speak to a GP is almost non existent.(I have been told 3 times recently that I would get a call)never did. I visit the surgery to try and at least speak to a receptionist, unfortunately the surgery was busy that day handing out 34 new patient request packages!!! Be warned don’t bother going anywhere near it on the 1st of the month.

  10. As I understand it, you can’t apply to be taken on at a new surgery until you’ve left your previous one.
    So someone wanting to transfer from the Grange would have to leave the Grange practice (thus rendering themselves GP less) and hope that there are vacancies at an alternative practice ( eg Eastcliff)
    In this current proposal, I think that Grange patients should be given the option to transfer to an alternative practice without any hassle.

  11. Where will all the new GP’s and nurses come from to run such a site? There are not enough to go round as it is and it takes years to recruit a suitable medical practitioner anyway. It’s not as if there are doctors waiting to be employed.
    The Sainsbury traffic issues there are that to get in and out their car park you have to join the queues all the way around the site. Why wasn’t there access from the existing Westwood Cross car park put in? and why hasn’t the access from the side of Primark been joined to the roundabout on Dadson way opposite Mcdonalds entrance where there is already a unused piece of road waiting to be used? The whole road system of in and out has been funneled into one spot.

  12. i have to agree with dumpton , this is just a money making scheme nothing else , have you ever noticed how jolly and friendly the doctors are when doing your flu jabs ? of course they are , its big money for them along with the covid jabs , they cant be bothered to speak to you for the rest of the year !

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