Councillors agree to demolish town clinic

PUBLISHED: 12:49 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:03 26 October 2009

Elms Health Clinic site unused since 2006

Elms Health Clinic site unused since 2006

COULD this be another nail in the coffin of the town s community hospital? That s the question on the lips of members in the Potters Bar Society after councillors agreed to the demolition of the Elms Health Clinic and outline planning permission. The de

COULD this be another "nail in the coffin" of the town's community hospital?

That's the question on the lips of members in the Potters Bar Society after councillors agreed to the demolition of the Elms Health Clinic and outline planning permission.

The decision to knock down the empty building to make way for five flats, two houses and 11 parking spaces was made by Hertsmere Borough Council's planning committee.

While the clinic has been shut since late 2006, Arnold Davey from the Potters Bar Society explained that there was a hope it would be reopened elsewhere in the town.

But at present the facilities at the old High Street location have been moved into the community hospital, forcing the Tilbury Ward there to close.

He now fears the ward will never reopen if the clinic is to be demolished with no talk of an alternative site.

He told the Potters Bar Edition: "It is one more nail in the coffin of the hospital.

"The councillors and council officers probably couldn't turn it down with the letters from the primary care trust.

"But it just feels like the hospital is being cut to pieces bit by bit."

A spokeswoman for the PCT, which owns the site, said: "Following a public consultation in summer 2006, the intermediate care service in Hertsmere was redeveloped to make best use of staff and buildings.

"The district and intermediate care nurses from the nearby Elms Clinic were brought into an enhanced dedicated ward at Potters Bar Community Hospital which incorporated the Tilbury ward.

"Having all our intermediate care provision in one place has vastly improved the service we are able to offer to patients and has allowed the PCT to invest in more staff to support patients in their own homes."

The society also raised concerns that the library behind the clinic would be made "invisible" by the new building.

Mr Davy said that Herts County Council had closed the town's second library, at Cranborne, with the promise of a new one.

A county council spokesman said: "We don't consider that a higher building will cause additional problems for users."

Patronage was up by 15 per cent over the past year, he said, and they had already put up better signage for the existing one.

There were still plans to better the library facilities in the town, he added, but no firm plans yet and a mobile library was now at the Furzefield centre also.

Why council took the decision

"WE didn't want another Honeywood House on our hands."

That was the concern of councillor Eddie Roach, who sat on the Potters Bar and Shenley planning committee as they agreed to demolish the Elms Health Clinic.

The Parkfield ward borough councillor told the Potters Bar Edition: "It is looking more of an eyesore every week.

"My worry if that, if it is left, we could have another Honeywood House on our hands."

The former care home on Darkes Lane has been left empty and derelict since 2006, making it a target for thieves and vandals.

However, he said he did not see this decision as a threat to the library, which was already slightly obscured. He said people did not have difficulty finding it.

He also mentioned future plans to bring the county libraries into the 21st century, which would improve the services on High Street.

And he felt that the town's community hospital was thriving, offering many services, so it did not appear to be suffering.

The decision by the council to allow the demolition and outline planning was a unanimous one among councillors, he added.

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