The scheme is the result of a last minute deal to purchase the vacant municipal building – a move that has been welcomed by leading healthcare organisations and local councillors.
Yvonne Fovargue, Makerfield MP, described the sale of the Town Hall site is a ‘giant step in the right direction’, whilst Sir Ian McCartney, Wigan Healthwatch chair, said the plans are ‘a dream come true’.
Through its local public/private collaboration, ‘One Partnership’, Eric Wright Health & Care will work closely with Wigan’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Council to understand how the centre can support the local community and provide a high standard of facilities for local residents.
The scheme will integrate services currently delivered from Ashton Clinic and the Medicentre on a single site in an accessible town centre location.
Dr Sukhavasi, GP at the Medicentre, said: “We have been working for a long time with the Primary Care Trust and more recently the CCG to try and make this happen. I’m pleased that this is really happening as the new facility will provide the extra space we need and more importantly will help us to bring specialist patient care closer to the community’.
Julie Southworth, director of quality and safety at NHS Wigan Borough CCG, added: “We have been working hard with all our partners to resolve the issues around the location of the new facility. The new centre will provide modern facilities that will support the patients and community, so we are delighted that this opportunity to develop Ashton Town Hall in to the new centre has been agreed.”
Christine Winstanley, director of Eric Wright Health & Care, concluded: “Plans for the redevelopment of Ashton Town Hall into a contemporary NHS community health care facility are still at the consultation stage but the building is in an excellent location and provides plenty of scope to combine services in a single building. It is anticipated that the development will commence in summer 2016 and the centre to be operational in autumn 2017.
“The expertise within Eric Wright Health & Care and the wider construction and property development resources within the Eric Wright Group mean that we will be able to hit the ground running”.