By Local Democracy Reporter: Christine Sexton
PEOPLE working in or attending a new medical centre will be expected to leave their cars at home.
Construction of the Integrated Medical Centre in Corringham is underway and the centre will employ 90 staff and is expected to open early next year.
The NHS has drawn up a travel plan which has been presented to planning officers. It show 32 per cent of staff and patients using the facility are expected to walk there.
Car sharing and use of taxis makes up another 26 per cent with just 36 per cent expected to use their own cars.
Only 35 car parking spaces will be provided for the staff and the 4,000 patients it will serve.
It will also have 22 cycle spaces for the 1 per cent cycling to the centre.
Staff will undergo reviews to see if they can park on the site with those living in Corringham or Stanford-le-Hope not allowed to use the car park and visitors limited to a one-hour stay.
The Corringham facility is the first of four such centres to built in the borough, with the others due to be built in Grays, Tilbury and Purfleet. Work on the centres in Tilbury and Purfleet is expected to begin next year and open in 2023. Once they are all open Orsett Hospital is likely to close.
The plan will bring a range of services under one roof, including blood tests, mental health services for adults and children, and other primary care services.
The centre will aim to reduce car use among its staff by five per cent over five years. Local footpaths and bus stops will be regularly inspected to ensure staff aren’t deterred from using them because of neglect.
Staff will also be educated on the health benefits of leaving cars at home but if the target is not met a campaign will be launched.
A report to the council said: “A Health Care Travel Plan is an important tool in helping to deliver sustainable employment areas.
“This will bring a number of benefits into the local area, including, reducing the need to travel by private car and to cut single occupancy car use from the new development while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring that employers reduce the regular need for car use.”