In September 2018 Lewes District Council announced an £18.7m Health Hub development to be built on the playing field and memorial garden of the Downs Leisure Centre. This was without public consultation or involvement with local residents. Appearing in the media as a done deal claiming the Health Hub to be ‘ground breaking’.
Concerned with the loss of green recreational space and moving two GP surgeries out of the town centre, local residents formed the Downs Development Neighbourhood Voice. The seizure of green recreational ground to build a GP surgery is unprecedented and it appears to be collateral damage to health providers. As LDC have recently announced a climate emergency the protection of green spaces should be their priority. Seaford also has a deficit of recreational ground for its population. Additionally, by moving medical services out of the town centre local businesses would be affected by the loss of footfall.
While acknowledging there is a need for improved GP premises there are many questions that remain unanswered. Why is LDC funding premises for the NHS when it is not a local council core responsibility? Why can’t the current premises, owned by NHS Property Services be extended? On June 27th The LDC’s Scrutiny committee met to discuss the plans and has formed a working group to examine the project in further detail.
DDNV have been campaigning with a petition online and a paper version and presented 2,640 signatures to the full LDC council meeting on 15th July. The petitions are still active and will be collated for the next LDC council meeting on the 25th September. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-the-doctors-in-town-save-our-recreation-ground
A planning application has yet to be submitted by LDC but alarmingly ground and building surveys are already taking place on site by Kier. Despite the proposal being under scrutiny LDC are pushing forward. Without engaging or answering questions regarding it’s origins and justification to borrow a substantial sum of money. This part of Seaford is already earmarked for a major housing development at the former Newlands School site, increasing traffic and pollution. The impact on town infrastructure and the highways remains a major concern.
Article by Brioney Player dated 31/7/19