Work has begun on a new £4m Wigan health centre.
Situated on the site of Ashton’s former town hall, Eric Wright Health and Care acquired the site from the council in 2015 and successfully achieved planning in 2017.
The firm has been appointed as main contractor to deliver the scheme, which sits next to St Oswald’s Primary School.
It is a showcase for the Healthier Wigan initiative that looks to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents and bosses say it will support the regeneration of Ashton.
An official sod-cutting ceremony has taken place with representatives from the school, whose students prepared some art work that will decorate the site hoarding. The partnership will continue to work with St Oswald’s throughout the construction process.
When complete, the 1,100m sq building will comprise two GP practices, medical centre and Bryn Street Practice on the first floor, with the ground floor used for community services, including the integrated health and social care teams.
There is also a ground floor meeting/community area that has been designed so it can be used out of hours by local community groups.
Other features include an ambulance standby point where crews can rest between calls. Solar panels have also been installed to improve the building’s sustainability credentials and make the project more cost-effective.
Eric Wright is also paying for additional infrastructure including a new pedestrian crossing, community alley gates on Council Avenue, better pedestrian access to St Oswald’s Primary on Council Avenue, improvements to Millingford Grove car park and a travel plan to show patients and staff the best way to access the centre.
Wayne Ashton, the firm’s head of strategic planning, said: “Over the course of our involvement in the project, we have worked closely with the council, the NHS, the school and the local community, to create a building which is integrated into its surroundings.
“When finished, the centre will provide the community with exceptional facilities to support their health and wellbeing. With work already under way, we are working towards a completion date of summer next year.”
Dr Tim Dalton, chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring a new health centre to local residents in Ashton. This is a major step forward in the quality of the health facilities in the area and I look forward to seeing the building work progress over the coming months.”