By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter
Thousands of patients have been saved from losing their GP after a council approved the construction of a pop-up medical centre.
The temporary pod will serve as Waterloo Health Centre’s base for two years while the surgery continues its search for a permanent home for its 14,500 patients.
The GP practice had feared it could be left homeless after a developer launched legal action to kick the surgery out of its current home at 5 Lower Marsh.
The approved pop-up building will be on the site of the old Waterloo Library at 114-118 Lower Marsh, less than a minute walk from where the surgery is presently based.
Dr George Verghese, GP partner at Waterloo Health Centre, said he was relieved the temporary solution had come forward.
He told a Lambeth council planning meeting on Tuesday: “Our pending homelessness has produced significant amounts of anxiety and concern among our patients and the people of north Lambeth.
“It’s an understatement to report there was quite significant relief when this modular solution was proposed at 114 Lower Marsh.
“Not only was the location important to our patients, just a few steps from our current site, it was also a solution that [if] delivered without delay would provide care to our local population without interruption to what we feel is a very vital service to our community.”
Set over two floors, the temporary building will include two treatment rooms, eight consultation rooms and three remote consultation rooms, as well as a reception, waiting room and admin area.
An artist’s impression of the pop-up surgery shows the building decorated with red and blue coloured health-themed objects, such as hearts, teeth and apples.
Waterloo Health Centre said it had been in talks with its landlord’s agent about staying in its current home at 5 Lower Marsh for another 10 years before it was suddenly given notice to leave in 2022. The medical centre subsequently made plans to move into another building on Lower Marsh, currently used by Christian Aid. But it is understood the owners of the property pulled out of the deal at the last minute.
A planning committee made up of six Labour councillors and one Green councillor approved the temporary surgery unanimously. But Saleha Jaffer, Labour councillor for St Martins ward, said she was disappointed blue badge holders who struggle to walk would have to park 50 metres away from the temporary surgery.
Pictured top: Waterloo Health Centre’s current home on Lower Marsh (Picture: Google Street View)
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