HEALTH bosses have been urged to get on with building a vital health hub in Teignmouth.

The health and wellbeing centre was given the go-ahead by Teignbridge Council last year and GPs say it’s needed urgently. 

But NHS Devon says the project has been delayed by issues with planning, soaring costs and uncertainty surrounding the future of the existing community hospital.

Inflation has doubled the costs and developers could be reluctant to start work if there is a risk the plans could be overturned by government.

No building work has started and the council leader fired a broadside at NHS Devon in an effort to kick-start it.

Cllr Martin Wrigley urged the NHS to ‘get on with it and get building’.

‘It is desperately needed in Teignmouth.’

The new £11 million facility in Brunswick Street will bring GPs, healthcare and voluntary sector services under one roof. 

Site for Teignmouth Health Hub
The site for Teignmouth Health Hub in Brunswick Street (Steve Pope/MDA)

The application has been controversial because it is happening alongside the proposed closure of the hospital.

The NHS says community needs will be better served by the complex but it has been referred to the government by objectors and Teignbridge Council. 

The authority owns the land where existing buildings will be demolished to make way for the three-storey centre to include consulting and treatment rooms, offices and a ‘pandemic suite’.

The community hospital in Mill Lane is due to close, with its services moving to Dawlish Hospital and the new health centre.

Comments came as members of Teignbridge overview and scrutiny committee reviewed progress.

Cllr Wrigley said the delay is ‘inexplicable’.

‘I have been asking officers to find out what the impasse is but we don’t know until the NHS comes forward and explains.

‘We have heard how urgent it is but we are still waiting for the NHS to come forward with the next move.’

He suggested the NHS may want to renegotiate the price for the plot.

He said: ‘The NHS makes some really bizarre decisions about its property services.

‘I can only assume they are falling over themselves with internal bureaucracy.

‘The land is agreed, the price is agreed, it is theirs for the taking. We just want a signature on a piece of paper.’

A spokesperson for NHS Devon said: ‘Our ambition was always to build a new health and wellbeing centre bringing together GPs, health, care and voluntary sector services. 

‘We have been working with partners across primary care, secondary care and the voluntary sector for a number of years.

‘The project has been delayed by a range of factors including a protracted design development period as well as the referral to the Secretary of State. 

‘Teignbridge Council also voted to write to the Secretary of State about the project.

‘Uncertainty makes delivering projects more difficult with developers and funders and there is financial risk in proceeding with a multi-million-pound project if the decision could be overturned.

‘Costs for the project are now more than double the original estimate. 

‘This makes the project harder to deliver and discussions about final financial arrangements continue.’

Site for Teignmouth Health Hub
The site for Teignmouth Health Hub in Brunswick Street (Steve Pope/MDA)