A new car park serving Woolpit Health Centre and the local community was officially opened by Mid Suffolk councillors and NHS representatives today – securing much-needed parking for Covid vaccination patients.
Work began on the collaborative project in August, following the transfer of land to Mid Suffolk District Council from David Wilson Homes, who are currently building new homes in the village.
Proposals for this to be used as a community car park were accelerated by the council in response to growing demand for parking whilst Woolpit Health Centre is used to administer the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, in addition to providing routine GP services to patients from 30 surrounding towns and villages.
The new car park will initially be used to offer 120 extra parking spaces for the health centre, with its opening being brought forward to accommodate a significant increase in the Covid-19 booster vaccinations being offered by the surgery from Saturday November 6.
It is anticipated that around 1,500 vaccines will be administered throughout the day to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, work in health or social care, or are aged 50 and over. Further vaccinations will take place at the health centre and other clinics across Suffolk during the winter, and details on this are available at the dedicated NHS website.
Additional community uses for the land are currently being explored, as the council continues to work closely with Woolpit Health Centre, Suffolk County Council, the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and Woolpit Parish Council to ensure that the car park best meets the needs of local residents both now and in future.
Stakeholders came together today to celebrate progress on the project, with Mid Suffolk District Council chairman Cllr Paul Ekpenyong joined by other district and county councillors, Woolpit GP Dr Richard West and representatives from the NHS and Breheny Civil Engineering.
Cllr Paul Ekpenyong, Chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council, commented:
“I am delighted that we’ve been able to deliver this much-needed car park for Woolpit, once again demonstrating the importance of community infrastructure levy in providing the facilities needed to make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of our communities for many years to come.
“Having it ready to be used for vital Covid vaccinations is a testament to the hard work of our council, the CCG, Suffolk County Council and Woolpit Parish Council on this collaborative project – and I’d like to thank all those involved.”
Dr Ed Garratt, chief officer of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“The Woolpit Health Centre stands out as an incredible example of a community-focused primary care facility which does so much to look after the health and wellbeing of local people.
“The opening is the result of true partnership work and highlights how working together can really deliver positive results.
“It’s also great to see that additional COVID-19 booster vaccinations are set to be delivered from here tomorrow, following on from the very successful drive-through clinics the health centre hosted earlier in the year.”
Patients wishing to use the new car park, should enter it from the health centre’s existing car park until its access road is ready in January – helping minimise disruption to nearby residents.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – collected from housing developers to provide the facilities needed to accommodate growth in the district – has been used to fund the project following approval from Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet in June. Despite supply issues experienced globally and the need for works to be completed ahead of schedule, the car park has still come within budget.