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Rent is still being paid at former walk-in centre

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 October 2010

Health bosses are still paying the rent for the city’s former walk-in centre more than a year after it shut, it has emerged.

However, NHS Norfolk has revealed that despite the axing of plans to use the Dussindale premises as a children’s centre, it hopes to bring it back into use for health and other services.

There was strong opposition in Thorpe St Andrew to the proposal to close the popular walk-in centre, but it shut last summer and was replaced by the Timber Hill Health Centre in The Mall shopping centre.

But the primary care trust continued to pay the rent as it was working with Norfolk County Council to make plans for a Sure Start children’s centre at the vacated Pound Lane site, which would incorporate health visiting, parenting and childcare information, midwifery and other health services on site.

However, the county council’s cuts mean the centre was abandoned earlier this month, along with eight other children’s centres.

Now it has emerged NHS Norfolk is still paying what it describes as a “minimal rent” for the empty building, but it refuses to say exactly how much that is, citing it as commercially sensitive information.

Clive Rennie, NHS Norfolk’s assistant director of women and children’s health, said: “We are meeting with a number of organisations in November to discuss their views about the use of the former walk-in centre at Dussindale.

“It is still early days but we would certainly like to see a range of health and other services operating from the building if possible.

“We have to be mindful of cost and also of the compatibility of services, but we are optimistic that a partnership of potential providers operating out of the centre can be brought together.”

Do you have a health story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk.

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