LABOUR councillors are dismayed by a recommendation from the town council to reject a new state-of-the-art medical centre on the edge of Calne.

The new proposal would see the existing Patford House Surgery move to purpose-built premises.

On Friday, the town council’s new Chairs Delegated Decisions Group, made up of the town council's committee chairs, vice chairs and the director of council services to make decisions during the coronavirus emergency, recommended Wiltshire Council should refuse the plan.

They say the plan should be rejected on the grounds that it conflicts with Calne’s Neighbourhood Plan and concerns were raised over the limited access and transport links to the site at Silver Street, on the A3102.

Cllr Glenis Ansell, LibDem chairman of the planning committee, said: “It’s a difficult decision but our Neighbourhood Plan which protects us from unwanted development states there should no development outside the settlement boundary – and this would be outside the boundary.”

The town council is currently fighting a controversial appeal over a plan by Churchill Retirement Living to build 39 apartments for the elderly in the town centre. Cllr Ansell added: “We do need extra medical centres, but we have to stand by our Neighbourhood Plan because I fear if we don’t, we’ll be open to unwanted development. We have to remain consistent in our advice.”

Labour Cllrs John Boaler and Jon Fisher, said they were in “dismay” at the decision.

Cllr Boaler said: “Calne continues to grow and the Patford House building is too small and unable to offer everything patients expect of a modern surgery.”

Cllr Fisher added: “While the proposed location on Silver Street was not ideal, there is no other potential site available in the town.”

Mark Edwards, head of business at the town council, said: “In considering planning applications the town council needs to ensure that we get the best for Calne.

"The proposal, location, impact and accessibility have to be considered alongside the Calne Community Neighbourhood Plan and Wiltshire Core Strategy.”An Assura spokesman said: “The application to create a new medical centre to replace Patford House Surgery’s ageing, unfit premises in order to grow primary care capacity is with Wiltshire County Council as per the statutory planning process. We look forward to the planning committee’s recommendation in due course.”

The Calne Neighbourhood Plan was approved by a referendum in February 2018 sets out a blueprint for development up to 2026. The plan is due to go to Wiltshire Council for approval in March.