New twist in wrangle over market re-vamp

Market re-development artist's impression. (s)
Market re-development artist's impression. (s)

A controversial multi-million pound scheme to redevelop Clitheroe’s historic market took a dramatic new twist this week.

County Councillor Ian Brown is now urging officials at Ribble Valley Borough Council to consider the development of a brand new health and well-

being centre on the market site instead of a hotel.

Supported by the borough’s Conservative Clitheroe councillors, Pam Dowson, Sue Hind, Ruth Hargreaves and Graham Geldard, Coun. Brown said: “The Care Quality Control Commission assessed the two Clitheroe GP surgeries and gave them outstanding ratings in every category.

“Their only complaint was the nature of the building so it has to be improved to deal with the 25,000 patients registered there and even more patients who will move into Clitheroe as new homes are built.

“The patients have already been asked in a practice survey if they wished the surgery to remain in the town centre.

“Coun. Sue Hind and I have met with both GP practice managers who have indicated they are interested in the possibility of a new health and well-being centre in the market or in another part of the town centre and welcomed our support to create an improved facility.

“I have a further meeting planned with the Care Commissioning Group responsible for GP services in Ribblesdale to discuss all the options, their plans for Clitheroe and the potential funding sources.

“Our conclusions will be reported to the borough councils Market Redevelopment Working Group currently considering the future improvement of the site and the public’s views expressed in the consultation.”

Coun. Brown’s way of thinking has been supported by Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, who said: “My discussions with market traders and others lead me to the conclusion that they would welcome such a new Health and Well- being Centre in the market on council-owned land.

“It could help to increase the footfall and therefore opening times and use of the market overall.

“I am struggling to find residents who think we need another new hotel after the Holmes Mill hotel is opened at the start of June.

“Other hotel chains who wish to open in the Ribble Valley are welcome, subject to planning consent, but they must show their commitment by finding an appropriate site.”

County Coun. Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of the Conservative Group on the Lancashire County Council, added: “Large numbers of the residents who are registered patients at the Clitheroe surgeries live in the surrounding villages which I represent.

“I support my colleague Ian Brown in his desire to improve the GP facilities for the surrounding villages as well as Clitheroe residents.

“Lancashire County Council has a major role to play in social care and public health to promote healthy living and improve quality of life for us all.”

Mr Phil Mileham, managing partner at Clitheroe’s Castle Medical Group, said it’s too early to speculate on anything. He added: “The GPs at Clitheroe Health Centre are considering a number of options to for a new health centre.

“One of the options is to redevelop the existing site and in order to do this, we have to hold discussions with the landowners. We are not ruling out the market site, but it’s very early days and no funding has been allocated therefore it is premature to discuss potential sites at this stage.”