A South Antrim Assembly Member has claimed that the health centre in Ballyclare is no longer suitable as the town continues to grow.
DUP MLA Paul Girvan made the claim following the recent sale of the former ‘Westlands’ development site, which could see 1,800 new homes constructed in the area over the next 20 years.
“The health centre is currently not easily accessible for patients as parking is minimal at the current location, and at peak times when there is a lot of traffic from the nearby schools and businesses, patients are struggling to find a space close to the centre,” he said.
The DUP representative suggested that the health centre should be relocated to another, more accessible site in the town.
“Considering that the town and the villages around it are continuing to grow, the health centre will need upgraded to be able to cope with the larger population of the area. To enable this upgraded centre, I propose that a site such as the old Asda store on Main Street could be put forward as a suitable location. It is currently a commercial property, but there are ways in which it can be adapted to suit the needs of the health centre,” he added.
A spokesperson from Ballyclare Group Practice has defended the current health centre, insisting that the facility is fit for purpose.
They said: “Ballyclare Group Practice welcomes the announcement of planning permission for 1,800 new homes and hopes it provides a boost to the local economy. Whilst this may take some time to come to fruition, all service providers in the area, including the practice, will need to consider the impact this might have and respond accordingly.
“The current location of the medical centre in the town, does have car parking limitations, as do all town centre sites, but is also accessible for a large number of patients who live within walking distance. The medical centre is currently fit for purpose and provides an extensive range of primary care services.
“The practice remains open to development opportunities and welcomes any support it receives from community leaders.”