The future of a new state-of-the-art medical centre for Sudbury is to be discussed in a council meeting next week.

Babergh District Council cabinet members are to consider whether they should step in to take on the headlease of the new centre in a meeting on Monday, January 9.

In 2020, the council approved the sale of a former lorry park on Station Road as a site for new, purpose-build facilities to meet the primary health and care needs of Sudbury's growing population.

Plans were for the Hardwicke House and Meadow Lane doctors' surgeries to relocate to the new centre, in a move which would replace aging facilities and create 20 new jobs.

It was also hoped that the modern training facilities would attract urgently required GPs, nurses and clinicians to the region.

East Anglian Daily Times: A CGI indicative image of what the new Sudbury GP surgery for the Hardwicke House Group Practice could look like.A CGI indicative image of what the new Sudbury GP surgery for the Hardwicke House Group Practice could look like. (Image: DGA Architects Ltd)

Planning consent was granted last April and funding was approved by the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB).

Pending a final sign-off from NHS England, work was due to start on-site this spring, with the new centre becoming operational next year.

Hardwicke House Group Practice has said it feels unable to agree to an agreement to lease the building for a period of 25 years, a final condition of the sale. 

The practice partners say they feel unable to make this commitment without greater flexibility, given the uncertainties within the NHS landscape.

On Monday, the council's cabinet members will discuss a range of options, including taking on the headlease of the health centre and sub-letting it to the Hardwicke House practice until the ICB is in a position to take on the headlease themselves.

A report presented to cabinet members details that there would be little to no impact on the council in terms of the day-to-day running of the practice, saying the main risk would be if the practice were to move out after 15-20 years and the building then remain vacant.

NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB and Hardwicke House Group Practice issued a joint statement: "We are grateful that Babergh District Council is considering working with us to deliver a positive result for our patients and local residents.

"These proposals are the culmination of several years' work by Hardwicke House Group Practice in trying to identify and secure alternative suitable accommodation within Sudbury."