A mighty Oak from an Acorn

A HEALTH centre like no other opens in Oxmoor next month. The Oak Tree Health Centre in Sapley Square is the pinnacle of Huntingdonshire District Council s multi-million pound regeneration programme for the area, the Oxmoor Action Plan. It has cost £10 mi

A HEALTH centre like no other opens in Oxmoor next month.

The Oak Tree Health Centre in Sapley Square is the pinnacle of Huntingdonshire District Council's multi-million pound regeneration programme for the area, the Oxmoor Action Plan.

It has cost £10 million and has taken five years from conception to completion.

Originally it was going to be a simple replacement for the Acorn Surgery, currently in temporary accommodation in California Road.


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However, the Oak Tree Centre is much more than a replacement.

What began as a plan for a GP surgery and pharmacy has grown to include a huge range of integrated facilities.

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As well as GP surgeries, patients will have access to services operated by Huntingdonshire

Primary Care Trust (PCT), including community nursing, health visiting, physiotherapy, and podiatry and dental services.

The centre will also be able to carry some minor operations, taking pressure off Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

In another unusual move, the centre will also provide complementary therapies such as homeopathy and aromatherapy.

Add this to the counselling services and multi-purpose meeting and seminar spaces, and you can work out why the centre will have a staff of more than 200.

Lead GP at the Acorn Surgery Dr Brendan Boyle, who first had the idea for a health centre in Oxmoor, described Oak Tree as "unique".

He told The Hunts Post: "There are no other health centres of this kind in the UK. There have been many plans for centres of a similar kind, with integrated facilities, but ours is the first to get off the ground."

The building itself, designed by Macmon architects, is impressive, both practically and aesthetically. The aim was to create a pleasing environment for patients and staff built round a central courtyard area. The design also makes the most of natural ventilation and light.

The building may be eligible for future architectural awards. One reason hopes are high is because the building provides multi-purpose space: meeting rooms, seminar spaces, a community café.

Again, this was part of HDC's Oxmoor Action Plan.

However, the popularity of the centre is causing concern even before it opens. The Oak Tree Centre is anticipated to bring a lot of activity to the area and there are concerns about traffic congestion and noise. Several new parking facilities have been built, however, and the council has undertaken a traffic study to try and avert any problems.

Whatever the effect the centre has on traffic, the building should be an asset to the Oxmoor community as well as a local landmark.

INFORMATION: Oak Tree Health Care Centre will be open on August 14.

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