CONTROVERSIAL plans to temporarily house a super-surgery in a former St Neots town centre shop have been given the green light - despite more than 1,500 objections.

Huntingdonshire District Council planners have given permission for the former Rosebys sho

CONTROVERSIAL plans to temporarily house a super-surgery in a former St Neots town centre shop have been given the green light - despite more than 1,500 objections.

Huntingdonshire District Council planners have given permission for the former Rosebys shop in Moores Walk to be used as a health centre. The building has been empty since December and will house the surgery until a permanent site can be found.

The surgery will be open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm, including bank holidays and with employ 15 full-time staff.

The planning application was put forward by Malling Health, which was chosen by NHS Cambridgeshire to run the surgery.

Despite objections, including a petition with 885 signatures from Almond Road Surgery, a 614-name petition from Cedar House Surgery and a petition of 17 signatures and 24 'third party' representations, HDC approved the proposal.

St Neots Town Council also opposed the plans because of a lack of retail units and a fear of increased town centre congestion and difficulties in parking.

Dr Niall Bacon, of Almond Road Surgery in St Neots, said: "Despite over 1,500 objections, and significant objections from the town council, the planners have approved the application.

"This all seems quite perverse, and it is very disappointing that Huntingdonshire District Council and NHS Cambridgeshire should ignore the wishes of the town's people in this way."

But HDC stated an NHS Cambridgeshire public consultation process found that "nearly half the respondents said they would like the new health centre to be based in the town centre". It is also found that "respondents said they were likely to use the new health centre on the basis of convenience and the extended opening hours".

NHS Cambridgeshire has expressed an interest in Huntingdon Street as a site for the permanent health centre. But this move has also sparked opposition as the town council has its eye on the site to develop a cinema.

INFORMATION: Do you agree with HDC's decision to approve the plans for a super-surgery in the former Rosebys shop, or do you think there is a more suitable site, and if so where? E-mail you views to: editor@huntspost.co.uk or write to: St Neots super surgery debate, The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB.