• Same doctors, new building 

Which services will be available in the new centre?

All the services currently provided by the surgery will be available in the new Centre, in a modern, accessible and attractive space.

The new, fully accessible Medical Centre will offer:

  • Parking facilities, an ambulance bay, drop-off zone, charging stations and a cycle shelter;
  • Dispensary serving prescriptions during the centre open times;
  • Bat and bird boxes to support local biodiversity;
  • Attractive external landscaping that includes a community garden.

Will the centre continue to be run and managed by the Hedingham Medical Centre team?

Yes. The Hedingham Medical Centre team will continue to run the Centre as before. The same GPs, Nurses and clinical and administrative teams at Hedingham Medical Centre will manage the facility and provide NHS services following the move to the new building as tenants. OneMedical Property, the founding arm and Property division of OneMedical Group, will fund the development and will be the new landlord once the building is complete. OneMedical Property will then lease the facility to Hedigham Medical Centre as the main occupiers of the development over a long-term lease period. In addition, oneMedical Property will be looking after the Hedigham Medical Centre to continue providing new and improved services based on the development.

Will the new medical centre replace the three GP surgeries local to the area?

The same GPs, Nurses and clinical and administrative teams that work out of our three sites will move to the one new site. The three existing sites will cease to be medical facilities. The new site will be more easily accessible, have better car parking, be modern and provide an improved clinical environment.

Which areas and how many patients will the new centre serve?

The current facilities serve a patient list size of around 9,000. The new facility has been designed to futureproof for the needs of the local community as it grows and can serve about 12,000 patients from Sible and Castle Hedingham and the surrounding villages. 

The practice has embraced the introduction of new technologies to enable greater access to services for those who cannot travel to the surgery. We’ve also looked to extend our operational hours to provide patients with a wider choice of appointment times.

Will I need to re-register again to be a patient at the new centre?

No – if you are already registered as a patient with the surgery, you won’t need to register again if they move to the new building. Primary Care services at the new facility will be provided by the Hedingham Medical Centre team.

Can we still book GP appointments during the build?

Yes, there are no plans to change how GP appointments are booked at Hedingham Medical Centre. During the build, the Hedingham Medical Centre team will operate as usual from our two sites in Castle and Sible Hedingham.

  • Parking and traffic measures 

How many staff members will there be, and are 7 parking spaces enough to accommodate all the administration staff, nurses and doctors?

Hedingham Medical Centre employs 46 staff, primarily part-time on varying rotas, which translates to about 20 people on site at any time during opening hours.

It is proposed to provide 12 parking spaces on-site dedicated for staff. Approximately 10% live close to the proposed centre and will walk or bike to work. In addition, the Medical Centre will have a Travel Plan in place to encourage staff and visitors to travel sustainably. The travel plan’s measures will include promoting car sharing amongst staff, with a database set up, dedicated car sharers parking space and guaranteed lift home as a backup if issues during the day prevent someone from getting a lift home with their car-sharing partner.

Working with local community partners, we’re also exploring additional parking options in the area identifying alternative, nearby parking arrangements for staff and other measures in the Transport Statement to reduce the need for local road parking. With OneMedical Property, we’ve engaged in discussions with the local Library and Hedingham Baptist church to provide overflow car parking. The sites are located only 2-3 minutes away from the medical centre.

Will there be enough parking to serve 10,000 patients?

As part of the development, it is proposed to provide 26 parking spaces for patients, including three accessible spaces and motorcycle parking. It is considered through consultations an ample space, and the provision of parking for visitors is based on the following:

  • Essex Parking Standards for consulting rooms
  • Assumptions regarding the use of other treatment rooms
  • Conservatively assumes that over 90% of patients will drive to the centre
  • Staff parking

In addition, the Travel Plan put in place will encourage both patients and staff to travel as sustainably as possible. We have plans to encourage car sharing, whilst discussions are being carried out with both the Library and the Baptist Church to provide car parking spaces off-site to accommodate any shortfall. In addition, research shows 30% of the patients are located within 10 to 12 minutes’ walk from the medical Centre.

Will patients with mobility issues also have access to parking?

The plans allow for 3 disabled parking spaces near the front entrance.

What would prevent anyone from parking overnight to use the electric vehicle charging points?

The access to the site will be regulated by electric barriers put in place during and outside of working hours. Staff parking access is designed to have an electric barrier installed at the entrance to the car park to prevent overnight parking use by motor vehicles overnight. In addition, the EVP charging points will be operated using a token type system available from the reception only. While the centre is not in operation, there is no opportunity to access the facility. These barriers should also prevent anti-social night-time use of the car park.

What locations are considered for off-site staff parking? 

We are actively exploring alternative parking capacity in the area to reduce the impact of parking residents. In addition, other locations within Sible Hedingham are being considered, including Hedingham Baptist Church and the Library. Both are located within an easy two-minute walk (150m) away from the Medical Centre – 500m (a five to six minute walk) is generally accepted as a reasonable distance for walking from a parked car to a place of work. Therefore we will continue to explore and identify off-site parking within this area.

How are pedestrians going to cross the road to get to the surgery?

Traffic consultants working with Essex Council and the Highway team looked at predictive movements within the area. As a result, the application documents predicted relatively low traffic along Osier Way and vehicle movements on Bewick Court at the junction with Swan Street and on Osier Way. Based on these predictions and including the residential, work hub and Medical Centre, the following is predicted:

With a timeframe for crossing this type of street of approximately 4 to 6 seconds, it is safe for people to cross the road. We recognise that many medical centre visitors will be elderly or have mobility issues. However, as advised by our consultants, given the likely traffic flow, there should be ample time for people to cross safely, with average gaps of 20 seconds even at the busiest traffic location during the peak hour. This gap increases to an average 60-second gap on Osier Way during the daytime. The initial residential development also provides junction improvements at the Swan Street junction. These improvements included informal dropped kerb crossing points with tactical paving at:

  • Bewick Court/Swan Street for those walking along the eastern side of Swan Street
  • Bewick Court entrance to cul-de-sac for those walking along the northern side of Bewick Court/Osier Way past the work hub and medical Centre

Will traffic calming measures be used to control the traffic through Sible Hedingham and give users and residents of the housing estate the time to turn into and out of the junction? 

Traffic generated by the Medical Centre was considered part of the residential development planning application. The assessment, approved by Essex Highways, found that the surrounding road network has sufficient capacity to accommodate traffic generated by the Centre. As part of the residential development planning application, the operation of the Bewick Court/Swan Street junction was modelled and found to operate significantly below practical capacity.

The provision of waiting restrictions near the Medical Centre access has been discussed with Essex Highways. As a result, a contribution towards the provision of waiting restrictions has been requested. Essex Highways proposes to use this contribution to monitor the impact of the Medical Centre following opening and implement a scheme if required.

Will construction traffic be sharing the same entrance whilst building the new medical centre?

We are working to support access to the site from Bewick court to minimise traffic going on the Osier way. The entrance is considered ampler and more adequate, and we fully expect that this will be part of the planning conditions. Construction vehicles may use, as proposed, access from site on Osier Way. The development will be supported by a Construction Logistics Plan approved by the Highway Authority before starting the site. This plan will consider routeing, sensitive receptors, manoeuvring, hours of deliveries, and methods to minimise disruption, dirt and dust. The Plan will also require a survey for the public streets and management measures to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum and surrounding neighbours are fully informed of the programme.

Can the surgery be accessed via public transport?

Yes – there is a regular bus service less than 100m west of the development.

Bus stops are located on Swan Street (65m away, and a one-minute walk), served by routes 88 and 89. These routes have a frequency of one per hour and travel from Halstead to Colchester (no 88) and Braintree to Great Yeldham (No 89). There is also an extensive network of pedestrian footpaths and off-road routes in the area providing connections along the eastern side of Sible Hedingham.

I like to travel on my bicycle. Will there be somewhere safe for me to leave it when I visit my doctor?

Yes, we have designed a safe and secure bicycle storage locker area on site, so people travelling by bicycle can have somewhere secure to store their bicycle when visiting the building.

  • Main changes for patients’ needs

Will this new facility offer services/appointments to more patients than it currently does from separate sites?

Yes, the facility is futureproofing with room to expand to cater to more patients and staff, access to several consulting rooms and broader corridors. The current facilities are not fit for purpose and not big enough to provide the level of services required. Therefore, the new facility has been designed to futureproof for the local community’s needs as it grows and can serve about 12,000 patients.

The practice has also embraced the introduction of new technologies to enable greater access to services for those who cannot travel to the surgery and looked to extend the operational hours to provide patients with a broader choice of appointment times. The new Centre will provide a welcoming and non-clinical environment in accordance with Dementia Friendly design principles.

Will there be lift access to the first floor for people who cannot manage the stairs?

Yes – there will be a lift for patients to the first floor, and accessibility is a key design feature of the new building.

Will the building be served by either an air pump or ground source heating?

 Yes – The ventilation system will be running at the ceiling level to support the heating strategy. The air source heat pump will be located on the Northside of the building, and the system will be out of sight to make sure it will not detract from the appearance of the building.

What are the main changes for the healthcare centre to meet patients’ needs?

  • Welcoming and non-clinical environment in accordance with Dementia Friendly design principles.
  • Accessibility for all physical and psychological abilities.
  • The project main elements include biophilic design choices, sound absorbing surfaces and materials, natural daylight and increased natural ventilation.
  • A healthier environment and more enjoyable experience for patients, visitors and staff.
  • Contemporary design and sympathetic to the existing Work Hub building and local residential vernacular.
  • Pandemic proof design including: main entrance provided with a canopy to allow for queuing outside the building; layout plans designed with more than one entrance point to facilitate a one-way system to access and exit the building; Reception desks provided with glazed screens; Ground and first floor provided with a main waiting area and sub-wait area to consulting and treatment rooms to restrict the number of people accessing hot and cold zones of the building; High touch specifications including anti-microbial coatings to create a safer environment; Building designed to be predominantly naturally ventilated.

Has anything extra been considered as part of the building designs?

Yes: wellbeing and inclusivity are key components of the designs for the new Health and Wellbeing Centre. As part of BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, the building will have the highest sustainability standards. The size of the building has been designed to modern, while sympathetic to the look and feel of the local area.

Will the centre include a space for community garden?

Yes – the plans include external landscaping and a community garden. There are also plans to include bat and bird boxes to support and encourage local wildlife and biodiversity.

Who will pay for the first-floor planting and the bird and bat boxes, as well as maintaining this? How will this be carried out at the proposed level?

As developer and investor, as well as the long-term landlord of the building, OneMedical Property will pay for the planting at the first-floor level and looking after it, as well as for the bird and bat boxes. Based on the feedback received from local authorities and residents, the building contributes positively to the overall environment and the area’s ecology. Therefore, we are keen to maintain it this way as much as possible.

  • Public engagement and consultations 

How have local residents been listened to as part of the planning process?

To listen to the local community effectively so that we could submit the planning application based on local feedback, since being appointed by Braintree District Council, Hedingham Medical Centre and OneMedical Property have worked closely with patients, councillors, stakeholders, and community groups to be as inclusive as possible. We’ve also spoken to inclusivity groups, sensory champions, the Parish Council, local community services such as the Baptist Church and local library, and others. In addition, we organised public information meetings for questions residents and patients will have relating to the project’s impact, including the construction of the building.

Have the doctors and staff of Hedingham Medical Centre been fully consulted on the building’s suitability?

Yes – we’ve worked closely together with OneMedical Property at every stage. Our feedback and input has been a key part of the process, as has the feedback and input of residents, patients and local groups.

What are the timelines for different phases of the build?

We have submitted planning permission for the new building. The healthcare facility is expected to be developed as the new home for Hedingham Medical Centre in Spring 2023. Following completion of the building, anticipated to be in April 2023, the GP partners at Hedingham Medical Centre will relocate their services to the surgery, offering the community a long-awaited and purpose-built medical facility.

Was OneMedical Property selected by local authorities to take the development of a medical centre?

OneMedical Property has worked closely with Braintree District Council and Hedingham Medical Centre to take forward existing plans. We were selected by the Council as the developers of the project.

Who will be the landlord of Hedingham Medical Centre?

OneMedical Property will be the landlord and the combined practice will lease the building on a long-term basis. We are experienced healthcare landlords who work with GP partners using our extensive knowledge of NHS care delivery to make sure each of the buildings reflects and responds to the local population’s health and social care needs.

Who are OneMedical Property and OneMedical Group?

OneMedical Property is the founding arm of OneMedical Group and is a long-standing specialist in designing, investing, managing, and developing healthcare properties. Since 2004, OneMedical Property has been building a better future for healthcare by creating innovative, patient-focused buildings and related premises solutions throughout the UK.

OneMedical Group is a family-owned organisation founded in Yorkshire. From its initial beginnings in healthcare property development, the team’s expertise broadened to delivering better healthcare and wellbeing in NHS Primary and Urgent Care Services in the UK and consultancy and technology services.

Are OneMedical Group based in the UK?

The Group is and will remain a UK-owned and operated organisation, who do not and have never banked overseas. We have no external shareholders, and our focus is on reinvesting in our local communities, including with the OMG Foundation, which is the charity arm of OneMedical Group.

We currently deliver NHS Urgent Care in Sheffield, Derby, Corby, Leeds and Bracknell, alongside NHS Primary Care at GP practices in Milton Keynes, Leeds and Derby. Our support centre is based at Bank Top Farm, near Leeds. We’re delivering property solutions and medical centres in South Yorkshire, the North West, London and the South East and the Midlands. Our Group mission of ‘Improving lives’ underpins everything we do. OneMedical Group’s values are ‘Working Together’, ‘Putting People First’ and ‘A Better Future’.

Hedingham Image

Neil Dickinson