Plans to build a new healthcare centre as part of the new £150 million Preston Barracks development in Brighton could soon take a major step forward.

Brighton & Hove City Council is working with developers U+I, the University of Brighton and NHS Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (BHCGG), on proposals to provide the new primary healthcare centre.

The centre would incorporate and extend two existing GP practices providing medical services under the NHS, alongside a range of community based health and social care services.

In order to progress the inclusion of the medical facility within the scheme, the council is proposing taking on the lease for the centre. Once the centre has been built, the council would assign or sublet the lease to the GP practices.

At a meeting yesterday (June 14, 2018), members of the Policy, Resources and Growth Committee are being asked to agree that the council takes on the lease, subject to the council securing an indemnity from BHCGG to cover any costs incurred.

The move would help secure the delivery of the modern, fit-for-purpose premises, expand primary healthcare in the city and ensure that the opportunity is not lost.

The proposed new healthcare centre is part of the Preston Barracks regeneration scheme. Last December U+I and the University of Brighton secured planning permission for the wider project (which also includes two university sites) offering 1,300 purpose-built student bedrooms and 369 new homes, including affordable housing.

The scheme also includes the development of a 50,000 sq ft entrepreneurial hub, supported with £7.7 million grant funding from Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership provided through the Greater Brighton Economic Board.

The planning permission included a commitment from the developer to work with a medical provider to secure a health centre on site.

Sarah Chitty, Development Manager at U+I commented: “We are delighted to confirm that plans for an onsite health centre are taking shape. The new facility will complement the mix of homes and employment space on site, supporting the local community and helping to transform this area of the city.”

With around 3,000 new residents, the development of Preston Barracks will create major demand for additional health services from GP surgeries which are already struggling to meet local need.

The proposed new premises would see local practices the Cockcroft University Surgery (part of Stanford Medical Centre) and the Allied Medical Practice (School House Surgery & Church Surgery) moving to bigger, purpose built accommodation, increasing patient numbers from 11,000 to 16,000.

Alongside the GP surgeries, the centre would provide community-based health services including preventative services and management of long term conditions, along with facilities for training and development of primary care staff and other health professionals.

The proposed purpose-built primary care centre will help improve local people’s access to personalised health services, which will be provided in a high quality, purpose designed environment, with greater energy efficiency and better use of flexible workspaces.

Dr David Supple, Clinical Chair of Brighton and Hove CCG, said: “We are committed to ensuring the local community have access to first rate and sustainable GP services across the city, and this proposed scheme is one of the many projects we are undertaking to help us achieve this. We look forward to working closely with our partners to deliver this new primary healthcare centre, which when finished will provide a range of services.”

The project also forms part of the Greater Brighton One Public Estate programme’s project portfolio, which aims to facilitate and enable the range of local, regional and national public sector partners to work jointly on public property and land initiatives to get more from their collective estate by sharing and collaboration.