A NEW health centre planned for land opposite County Hall in Trowbridge will now be moved elsewhere in the town.
It comes after Wiltshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group said the land would ‘not be suitable’.

Plans for a Trowbridge campus featuring a health centre, a leisure facility, shops, restaurants and houses are now uncertain after the announcement from the CCG. 

On Tuesday that decision led to Wiltshire Council declaring the land, the site of the former East Wing of County Hall, surplus, meaning it could soon be put up for sale to boost council coffers.

Wiltshire Council Leader, Cllr Philip Whitehead, said: “The East Wing site remains an area with so much potential and we want to develop it.

"I have met previously with the town council and met with Cllr Steve Oldrieve and discussed our plans in general for the site.  I will share more information on this in due course.

"We were disappointed that previously discussed options didn’t pan out but the site provides real opportunities right in the heart of the town”.

Cllr Toby Sturgis, cabinet member for spatial planning, development management and investment, told Tuesday’s cabinet meeting: “East Wing has been declared one of our surplus sites and we will be considering options for its future.”

Local councillors are keen to see the plans for the Trowbridge campus to go ahead. Cllr Edward Kirk, who has supported the development, said: “I would be not very happy if the plans for the health centre didn’t go ahead at all, but I don’t think it would make much difference if they were just somewhere else in the town.
“It could regenerate another area, like the old Bowyer’s site for example.”

At a recent area board meeting, Chris Hilton, interim head of economic development at Wiltshire Council said since he had been working on the project planning objections from the Environment Agency had been made to the scheme, and the centre is now more likely to be built on the outskirts of town. 

The East Wing land is next to the River Biss, and the bottom of the car park has been covered in floodwater in the past.

Colin Kay, of the Wellbeing Centre Development Group, said: “We expressed real concern that CCG were now likely to go elsewhere when originally East Wing had been the preferred site option. 

“Perhaps this was linked to the failure to gain outline planning permission. This is a serious blow. 

“At a time when both Wiltshire Council and Trowbridge Town Council have declared a climate emergency it seemed surprising that CCG were considering sites that were not accessible by public transport. It was also a surprise to learn that leisure were considering other alternatives. 

“It was felt that it would be a tragedy if the original vision of a modern health and leisure facility in the centre of the town was to be lost.”

A Wiltshire CCG spokesman said: “We are not able to comment on this during the pre-election period.”