14.1  Alongside the medical practices, the NHS has responsibility for provision of healthcare and sets the rates that developers pay to mitigate additional demand created by development.

14.2  Healthcare provision in Saffron Walden is provided by two GP surgeries and some services available at the Community Hospital. The hospital has two geriatric wards but otherwise offers out-patient care only. The nearest maternity services are at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge (14 miles away) and for mental health services patients must either travel out of town or see staff who travel into the town specifically for appointments. The nearest walk-in health centre is in Bishop’s Stortford (11.5 miles away) and the nearest 24hr and A&E care is in Cambridge.

14.3  One of the surgeries is split across two sites, with one in Saffron Walden and the other in Great Chesterford, 4.5 miles away. Both practices are based in old buildings which are not easily enlarged. Public consultation for the SWNP revealed high levels of concern that doctors’ surgeries are overstretched and that the town needs a bigger and more sophisticated ‘state of the art’ health centre.

14.4  The response made by the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group to a major planning application in 2018 (UTT/18/0824/OP) confirms that primary healthcare provision in Saffron Walden is already under capacity by almost 500m².

14.5  The eLP identifies the Saffron Walden Community Hospital (2.25ha) as a site which is to be “safeguarded for healthcare unless it can be demonstrated that the land or buildings are surplus to the operational healthcare requirements of the NHS”.  The SWNP considers that this site, which is reasonably well served by public transport, is accessible on foot, and which is also accessible by private car, would be suitable for a full health centre.

14.6  Saffron Walden has several dental practices; however, in consultations residents regularly note that there are not enough NHS appointments available. Additional NHS practices would be welcomed.


1.  Planning applications and provision for a community health centre in the town of Saffron Walden will be supported, subject to the following criteria:

a.  The site is accessible by public transport;

b.  The site is accessible on foot;

c.  The site is accessible by car; and

d.  Sufficient parking is provided.

2.  The creation of a combined community health centre at the current community hospital will be supported.

This policy supports the Neighbourhood Plan Objectives 1,2,5



Please use the relevant section numbers as reference markers when writing your comments.

2 Responses

  1. 14.2.
    The community hospital only has one geriatric ward called Avocet. The other unit is Kingfisher which is non-inpatient – but for rehabilitiation sessions. Maternity services are also provided at the hospital by Princess Alexandra Hospital midwives at outpatient clinics.

    Both GP practices are split between the sites in Saffron Walden and Great Chesterford.

    West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is pursuing the use of the under-utilised community hospital for delivery of general medical services via a GP practice.

  2. At what point in the plan would Uttlesford qualify for a Minor Injuries Unit? This would take pressure off A&E services and reduce travel to Cambridge/Harlow.

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Neighbourhood Plan Objectives

Objective 1

Saffron Walden will be an economically active and self-sustaining town, offering equal opportunities to all.

Objective 2

Saffron Walden’s residents will be able to live as healthily as possible.

Objective 3

Saffron Walden will be an environmentally sustainable town.

Objective 4

Saffron Walden’s heritage assets, high quality landscape and conservation areas will be protected or enhanced.

Objective 5

Saffron Walden will retain its market-town feel and community spirit.


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