At £19,500 will anybody want the old Colnbrook surgery?

While councillors continue to explore options for a new building, a lease on the former Colnbrook Surgery at Wheelwrights Place is already being marketed.

The 605 sq ft property on the High Street is currently restricted to use for health, day care, education, art, or worship.

The 605 sq ft property on the High Street is currently restricted to use for health, day care, education, art, or worship.

The Colnbrook surgery at 12 Wheelwrights Place closed on 10th February, with lease arrangements requiring the practice to return the building to previous condition and vacate no later than 27th March.  But its owner, Harrow-based Tanfield Properties Ltd – which also owns numbers 10 and 11, has wasted no time in getting the premises marketed.  Harrow based Ferrari Dewe & Co is asking £19,500 per annum for the property.

The NHS will either reimburse GP practices to either a valuation of the current market rental or the actual lease rent, whichever is the lowest.  The revised lease arrangements set the rent at £8,500 above reimbursement levels and left Langley Health Centre out of pocket.  On top of that, the practice was worried that a rent review after 5 years could leave it responsible for a shortfall of up to £15,000 yearly.

Outrage in the village at the landlord’s apparent greed appeared to be confirmed by an NHS report.  The report to the Joint Primary Care Commissioning Committee in January concluded that, following a rental increase of 45% in 2015, the landlord had “dictated an extremely high rent, that exceeded the District Valuer’s valuation”.  However, the lease advertised does appear to be broadly in line with rental values locally when compared to similar units on offer today:

Location Current Use Size Lease pa £ per Sq. Ft. pa
Cherwell Close Shop 929 sq. ft £13,000 £13.99
Wheelwrights Place Former surgery 605 sq. ft £19,500 £32.23
Park Street Shop 700 sq. ft £25,000 £35.71
London Road Former nursery 1400 sq. ft £40,000 £28.57

Disused properties in the village such as the Old Smithy have already been discounted as unsuitable for use as a surgery.  But with bigger and cheaper properties in the parish being advertised for rent today, could there be a better place to locate a new GP practice without resorting to a new build?

Cherwell-Close

Of the four similar premises currently being marketed for rental in the parish, one – at Cherwells Close, Brands Hill – is both the cheapest and significantly bigger.  It is also situated within the most populous and deprived parts of the parish while being within easy reach of all areas of Colnbrook and Poyle by means of the 81 bus route.

Should the powers that be decide on a new build, however, there are few sites in the village available.  That may yet push a purpose-built surgery to being considered as part of an extension to the Village Hall, in conjunction with the proposed museum project, an idea mooted some time ago.  The museum project itself has yet to get off the ground, however, and there has been no public consultation on the plans so far.

In the mean time, Ferrari Dewe & Co may struggle to let out the old surgery without a change of use.

As well as the provision of medical or health services, the current D1 non-residential use allows the property to be used as a crêche, day nursery or day centre; for the provision of education; for the display of works of art; as a museum; as a public library or public reading room; as a public hall or exhibition hall; and for public worship or religious instruction.

A change of use to residential on the old Orchard Surgery, next door at 11 Wheelwrights Place, was granted on the 19th April last year.

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