Campaigners ramp up fight to keep GP surgery in Byfield as thousands sign petition

Campaigners in Byfield have ramped up their fight to keep a GP surgery in the village.

By Lucie Green
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 9:15 am
Hundreds descended on the last meeting when the surgery was to be discussed.

Organisers are urging people to make their voices heard when the decision to save the surgery goes to planning on Wednesday, February 9.

If it's turned down by West Northants Council when the meeting takes place in the Council Chamber at 6pm, Byfield will lose the surgery.

About 500 people descended on the last meeting where councillors were to discuss the surgery's predicament.

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Tracey outside Byfield Medical Centre.

It led officials to call in police to deal with scenes of 'utter chaos'.

But people power succeeded in winning a delay on a local authority planning decision that could result in the practice's closure.

One of the lead campaigners, Iain Osborne, who set up the Save Our Surgery support group, said: "People need to make their voices heard by going to this meeting.

"We are hoping for a big crowd to show support for a new surgery."

The decision had to be deferred after the last time plans were to be discussed.

The new plans are recommended for refusal over highways issues.

Iain added: "More than eight months ago, our MP said he would talk to highways.

"We feel the goalposts are being moved all the time."

Tracey Rymer is the practice manager at Byfield Surgery.

The meeting takes place on February 9.

She told The Gusher: "The application has been ongoing for four years and has cost over £200,000 to date. The majority of the cost is because of the objections from highways who are insisting 78 houses and new medical centre will cause ‘gridlock’ at the 5 ways junction, as over half the 8,200 patients live the other side of the junction. If the new medical centre is built they will no longer cross the junction and drive down church street so in effect reducing traffic flow, but highways are not interested in this fact. Highways refuse to enter into dialogue about what road improvements they would like to see, there is £800,000 available up front to pay for any works deemed appropriate.

"Seventy eight new houses would bring more children into the village for the local school, there would be affordable housing which the village currently does not have, more residents to use the pub, the village shop, the petrol station etc.

"Finally, this development is the only way to secure a much needed new medical centre, the current leased building was built for 4,000 patients and does not have capacity for the current list size of 8200 we are limping on as best we can and provide as well as we can for patients but this is not sustainable."

The meeting will take place in the Council Chamber, Lodge Road, Daventry NN11 4FP.