Doubts over plan for health village

The former Scarborough Rugby Club site is still standing empty
The former Scarborough Rugby Club site is still standing empty

UNCERTAINTY still surrounds a proposed health village that was set to be built on the former Scarborough Rugby Club site.

The Scalby Road site has stood empty for over a year after the £25 million development ground to a halt.

Buckingham-based developers Ashley House have now applied to Scarborough Council’s planning department to extend the time limit for implementation.

However, Dr Nick Whelan, of Scarborough Medical Group who were hoping to move onto the new site, says he does not believe a GP surgery will ever be built there.

He said: “I’m afraid that we no longer have any meaningful contact with Ashley House and have not done so for some considerable time.

“We never at any time believed that there was ever any likelihood of a private hospital being built on the Rugby Club site, and we now do not believe that a GP surgery will be built there either.

“Our last contact with Ashley House was to the effect that they would be ‘actively looking for alternative uses for the site’ and we believe that this is now the case.”

The developers’ original planning application was submitted in 2009 and included a 25-bed private hospital, doctors’ surgery, 14 units of sheltered accommodation, a medical day care centre and an 80-bedroom residential home for the elderly.

It was anticipated that the care home would be staffed by 18 full-time workers and other new roles on site would include doctors, nurses and administration staff.

The new application gives only a brief description of what will be included in the development, but does mention a private hospital, medical centre, care home and the 14 apartments.

The application is currently pending consideration and has a target decision date of September 26.

The Evening News contacted Ashley House but no one was available to comment.

In a previous article about the plans, a spokesman said that they had expected to be starting work on the build last May, but factors such as the credit crunch and change of Government had got in the way.

Debbie Westmoreland, practice manager at Scarborough Medical Group - a merger of Danes Dyke and South Cliff surgeries - had also expressed her disappointment at the lack of progress and information on the development.

The combined practice was hoping to move onto the health village site as it had outgrown its current premises with 12,500 patients now on its books.

Mrs Westmoreland said the practice was in desperate need of more space and staff were working extremely well in a challenging situation.

One GP was even having to work across two sites due to lack of space.