Tens of thousands of Worthing residents will benefit from radically improved health services after multi-million pound plans for a new town centre hub were approved by councillors.

As part of its commitment to make best use of its public assets, Worthing Borough Council has led on, designed and is funding the creation of a high-quality facility on the civic centre car park in Stoke Abbott Road.

The new contemporary building – which will be known as the Worthing Integrated Care Centre (WICC) – will bring together GP surgeries, mental health provision, community care and a pharmacy onto one central site.

In addition to making it easier for patients to access care, it will also provide a significant upgrade to the facilities used by scores of NHS staff while creating a new multi-storey public car park.

Councillors praised the design of the new building and its sustainable features before granting approval at a virtual meeting of the Council’s Planning Committee last night (Wednesday, August 26, 2020).

Cllr Val Turner, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing, said: “This is the culmination of a long-term aspiration by the Council to make the most of this under-utilised land in the heart of Worthing. It’s taken ambition, vision, collaboration and lots of hard work to get this across the line. When complete, the result will be a fantastic new building which will complete the civic quarter and transform the way tens of thousands of residents receive healthcare. Bringing together services onto one site like this will not only make it easier for those accessing care but also give our fantastic NHS workers state-of-the-art facilities to provide better integrated support.”

The WICC is to be located on the car park at the back of Worthing Town Hall and would see the existing Central Clinic site demolished to make way for the new facility.

The new building will meet the highest possible environmental standards with an air source heat pump providing the majority of the heating and photovoltaic solar panels on the roof.

A new multi-storey car park for 181 cars and 68 cycle spaces is also to be built next to the new centre. A fifth of the spaces will have EV charging points with the potential to upgrade the remaining bays over time.

The whole project is to be funded by Worthing Borough Council through borrowing which will be recouped through rent and income.

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which provides medical, nursing and therapeutic care, and the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability care, intend to take space in the new centre alongside the leading GP practice, Worthing Medical Group.

Cllr Paul High, Chairman of the Planning Committee, said: “The committee agreed that this was an excellent proposal for a key site in the town centre. The designs are to a very high standard and manage to meet a demanding brief from different health partners coming together to share a facility for the first time. “We’re confident that when complete, the new integrated health facility will significantly improve local health facilities and help to improve health outcomes for the local community.”

Approval for the WICC comes just a few weeks after the adoption of “And Then…”, the Councils short, sharp programme of interventions and assistance to help the communities of Adur and Worthing bounce back from the impact of lockdown.

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