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Transport worries ahead of the new Wollaston surgery opening
8:00am Thursday 30th January 2014 in News
ELDERLY and infirm patients could struggle to get to Wollaston's new multi-million pound medical centre due to a lack of public transport links.
The derelict Foster and Rastick building, off Lowndes Road, is currently being transformed into a state-of-the-art surgery, which will be occupied by doctors from Worcester Street Medical Practice in the spring.
But despite having the facilities to provide GP services for 26,000 patients, Wollaston councillor Barbara Sykes said she is concerned that those who do not drive will not be able to get there.
The current site in Worcester Street has a bus stop right outside but the new site isn't bus friendly.
The layout of the new centre's car park does not allow buses enough space to turn around in one swoop and the surrounding roads are also unsuitable for turning.
Cllr Sykes explained: "If a bus goes on to the new site it can't make a complete circle - it would need to reverse. But if a bus has to reverse they have to have a second person on it to help.
"The nearest public transport to the new surgery will be the bus stop on Enville Street and people will have to walk all the way down Lowndes Road to the surgery. It's a pretty long road - especially for elderly people."
Said she has looked into the possibility of opening the end of Bradley Road up but said it would be "financially impossible" and added it wouldn't be fair to ask the council tax payers of Dudley to foot the bill for what would appear to be "a planning oversight".
Cllr Sykes continued: "It's going to be a great facility for those who can get to it but it is not going to adequately serve a lot of people that are existing patients. If people can't get there, they will have to look at changing doctors.
"It would be great if it could be resolved to the benefit of their patients."
Nick Jackson, operations manager at Worcester Street surgery, said: "For the last 12 months we have been actively pursuing the transport options with relevant parities and will continue to do so."
A spokesman for Lye-based Hansons Local Buses, confirmed the surgery had been in touch and said: "It's not viable. We couldn't get a bus down there and they are not prepared to give up parking spaces to put a turning circle in."
A Centro spokesman said they had also been involved in discussions and added: “There have been talks between the surgery, council, ourselves and surrounding land owners about installing a turning circle so that the bus companies can consider putting on a service. Unfortunately, the parties have failed to find a way to provide that turning circle.
“As an alternative, the surgery has now been advised to look at providing a Ring and Ride stop on its premises. This would serve those patients unable to walk from the nearest stops which are less than 300 metres away and well served by buses.”
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