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Unanimous approval for £10.5M Peak District Health Centre

A state-of-the-art, £10.5m new health centre will be built in the Peak District town of Bakewell after unanimous planning approval was secured.

Designed and submitted by Sheffield-based architectural practice, Race Cottam Associates (RCA), the 16,000 sq ft new centre is expected to provide healthcare services for approximately 5,000 people. Set to be shared between Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), Bakewell’s new healthcare hub has been designed as a multipurpose, accessible building. It will feature a new clinic, treatment and waiting areas, administration offices, dedicated staff and client parking, and also house a number of existing services including mental health, children’s services, speech and language services, podiatry and physiotherapy.

Paul Foster, associate director at RCA and the practice’s healthcare lead said: “This planning consent marks a huge milestone. We’ve undertaken a significant consultation process to ensure our design not only improves and enhances the site but is also respectful of the conservation area’s character. It’s excellent news that both the Peak District National Park Authority Cultural Heritage Team and local residents have echoed this viewpoint and granted unanimous approval.”

Occupying a prominent position on the major northern gateway into Bakewell, RCA’s approved design was carefully considered to reflect the area’s heritage and ensure the health centre’s modern aesthetic would not detract from the neighbouring, Grade II listed Newholme Hospital frontage, which is being retained. Extensive study of the Peak Park Design Guide helped shape the overall design, which includes a collection of long strip buildings with traditional gable end features. Locally sourced materials such as limestone and gritstone will also help the new healthcare hub harmoniously blend with its surroundings.

Paul added: “Obviously in our current climate, healthcare services are more vital than ever. Projects like this, which will transform a site that is largely unfit for purpose and not suitable for the provision of 21st Century healthcare services, are therefore extremely important. We believe Bakewell’s brand new health facility will stand out as a building of civic character and look forward to construction commencing later this year.”

William Jones, executive director for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, which is leading this project, said: “We have worked closely with the Peak District National Park Authority to ensure the designs are sympathetic to the heritage of the area while also providing a building which is suitable to meet the needs of 21st Century community-based healthcare. This marks a big milestone in bringing this project to life.”

The Bakewell healthcare hub marks the second Peak District Scheme in RCA’s current portfolio. The practice is also delivering a part two/part three storey outpatient centre on the site of Babington Hospital in Belper. This will provide 20 flexible clinical spaces, treatment suite, physio gym, day centre, and support services for both EMAS and Derbyshire Police. A particularly challenging site due to its location within both the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site and Flood Zone 3, RCA is working in close consultation with the local planning authority, Historic England and the Environment Agency.