PLANS for the long awaited GP led urgent care centre in Devizes took another decisive step forward this week when it was announced plans for the project have been given the go-ahead by Wiltshire Council.

The scheme in Marshall Road also includes 50 homes, access roads, landscaping and open spaces.

News that the plan has been approved comes just weeks after it was announced that money to pay for the £7 million health part of the project had been approved by the NHS. Devizes MP Claire Perry was among those who in April expressed delight that cash for the urgent care centre had finally been approved.

In February health boss Richard Sandford-Hill expressed concerns about the delays in the money being signed off by the Government. Dr Sandford-Hill, who is chairman of the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and a GP in Market Lavington, said: "Devizes has to have a GP-led medical space. It has got to happen. I am 100 per cent committed to this and will work tirelessly to make it happen."

Ms Perry also gave it her full backing and held several talks with health secretary Jeremy Hunt to push the project forward. She said: "The new centre will offer same-day urgent care for patients of all five local GP practices and will share services like X-rays with the Devizes Treatment Centre and will provide a location for services currently delivered in Devizes Hospital. We can get moving in the next few months."

Dr Sandford-Hill added: “It’s all systems go to work towards the implementation of this important, long-awaited scheme that will provide modern, fit-for-purpose premises for the delivery of healthcare for the people of the Devizes community area.”

Many people in Devizes also fought tirelessly to get new services for the town after the minor injury unit closed at Devizes Hospital. Former mayors including Margaret Taylor and Paula Winchcombe spearheaded campaigns by DASH2 to make sure that the town did not loose out.