AN EXTENSION of a Winchester doctors' surgery has been approved by planners.

St Paul's Medical Practice on Oram's Arbour has been given permission to add a first floor extension to provide three more consulting rooms.

It is needed to help cope with increasing demand even though there has been a sharp rise in online consultations since the Covid pandemic.

Practice manager Philip Heiden told the planning committee: "Winchester's population is significantly growing. The current population registered to practices is 63,000 and looking to grow to 73,000 within the next 15 years", citing developments at Barton Farm and on Romsey Road.

Mr Heiden added: "There are three practices in Winchester. St Paul's has a great reputation and has significantly grown by 7,000 patients in a building that is now 20 years old.

He said pre-pandemic it was dealing with 91,000 consultations, 80 per cent face to face and 20 per cent remote. Post-pandemic the 91,000 has stayed the same with 40 per cent face to face and 60 per cent remote."

READ MORE: Lack of Platiunum Jubilee bunting and flags in Winchester High Street is criticised

Cllr Chris Edwards asked why the extension was needed if so many consultations were over the internet.

Mr Heiden said the practice was looking to recruit more staff who wanted to work with colleagues and who after remote consultation may need to see patients in person.

There were 11 objections including a lack of parking, increased traffic on Alison Way, an impact on highway safety and overdevelopment.

The practice has 28 parking spaces, ten for GPs and 18 for the public. It has rented four more spaces from nearby St Paul's church and was hoping to take up more.

A report by planning officers said: "The application site comprises a large doctor’s surgery within the residential area of Alison Way which serves the surrounding area. It has been subject to an increase in demand and is therefore outgrowing its capacity. It is contested within the applicant’s submission that the GPs' NHS contract does not allow them to close or restrict their patient registrations and with a growing population within the surrounding area, this has created a need for the surgery to extend."

Cllr Edwards said: "The surgery has been extended several times to keep with population growth. The north and west of Winchester is seeing significant number of new housing development over a number of years. We should be looking at providing additional medical infrastructure to support that growth and not just extending and extending existing facilities."

The committee voted unanimously to approve the application.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support.

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.