Residents of Meir are now only 13 months away from benefiting from a new £11 million state-of-the-art health centre.
Work to construct Meir Primary Care Centre will begin on 1 October following Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust, Prima 200 and Prime plc successfully reaching the final stages of approval for the centre.
The new four-storey building, located on the site of the former King’s Arms Pub on Weston Road, will replace the current Meir Health Centre and serve a patient population up to 18,000. Close to Meir Broadway, one of the main routes into Stoke, the building is set to be a landmark gateway to the city.
As well as offering purpose built accommodation for six local GP practices, the new centre will provide a range of additional services such as podiatry, physiotherapy, district nursing, health visiting, a dental access centre and a community pharmacy. In addition, one of the centre’s rooms will be available for out-of-hours use by community groups. As a result of the wider patient offering, 18 new healthcare jobs will be created at the centre.
Designed in consultation with patients and staff by healthcare building specialists One Creative Environments Ltd, the new centre features a curved front façade that will complement the curved four-storey building opposite the site. To add presence to the centre and main access, which is on the corner of the busy Weston Road and A50 roundabout, the entrance is topped by a two-storey high copper square frame that is filled with louvres – an architectural feature providing shading to the windows behind to reduce glare. The overall design is two volumes, with the front building section four-storeys high, stepping down to a two-storey wing that helps to reduce the buildings scale and match the smaller buildings further along Weston Road. To reflect local residents’ wish for a traditional finish to the building, the centre predominantly uses traditional red brick. The centre also includes two public courtyards, one to the front and one to the rear.
In acknowledgment of the site’s former use, the rear courtyard garden features the stone effect coat-of-arms that adorned the entrance to the King’s Arms, while a carved wooden crest from the pub will be displayed in the health centre’s main waiting area.
As well as contributing significantly to the regeneration of the community landscape, the development will also incorporate a range of green features in pursuit of the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) Excellent rating including 15% of the centre’s energy needs being met by renewable sources such as solar energy and air source heat pumps.
The new health centre is expected to open in November 2011.
Steve Sprackling, Development Director at Prime plc, added: “This striking new centre is a significant regeneration project and will act as an important focal point for the local community as well as offering enhanced health services. Achieving financial close means we can begin construction in early October and achieve the PCT opening date of November 2011.”
Pierre du Toit, Architect at One Creative Environments Ltd, said: “Working closely with all the stakeholders to deliver this landmark building with real presence has been a very enjoyable experience. The design uses traditional materials to create a fresh, contemporary look fitting with the centre’s role of providing the community with state-of-the-art health services.”
Dawn Wickham, Assistant Chief Executive of Stoke-on-Trent Primary Care Trust, said: “We are very pleased to have reached this important milestone which means that building work can now begin. By offering a wide range of healthcare services under one roof we will be able to add greatly to the healthcare provision in Meir and ensure the health needs of local residents are better met.”
Ann Pursey, Chief Executive of Prima 200, said: “By working closely with the local community, the Primary Care Trust and Prime we have together been able to create a health centre fit for the 21st century that can also support an expansion in services. The scheme in Meir demonstrates the importance of designing buildings and infrastructure around the service needs of a community, while ensuring the community can easily access those services.”