New plans to deliver joined up health and care services in one location in Dunstable have been given the green light.

Plan drawing

Subject to ‘call-in’, the decision means that a new Health and Care Hub could be offering local residents health, care and voluntary services all under one roof from 2023, with construction starting this winter.

The site also boasts some 98 apartments for over 55s, distributed in three blocks with access, parking, landscaping and associated infrastructure. Designed to meet the need for older people’s housing in the area, the apartments are intended for older people, who want to live independently but are finding it difficult to manage in the home they are living in – maybe because of mobility issues, health needs or just the upkeep of a bigger house. The homes are in the centre of town, with easy access to health services, shops and leisure facilities.

The council is working alongside Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) to deliver the project. BCCG is an NHS organisation responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for Central Bedfordshire, including hospital, community health and mental health services.

The Hub, along with apartments, will be set on the open land behind GO Bowling off Dunstable’s Court Drive.

Although the exact configuration of the services included has not yet been finalised, there could be GP and other medical services, children’s services, adult social care, community wellbeing and mental health services, public health services like the Stop Smoking service, voluntary and carer support and a café space.

This is a huge step forward in a really key project for local people. With the population in the Dunstable and Houghton Regis areas expected to grow significantly over the next two decades, with increasing health needs, the proposal for a modern, centrally located health and care facility is designed to meet that demand. It’s about delivering both health and social care in a joined-up way to suit local people.

The council had some useful feedback from people before they submitted the planning application and during the planning consultation phase. They know that people have some questions about parking, travel and the type of homes they are building and so have created a dedicated webpage going through some of those questions. The planning approval also puts some conditions on travel plans and parking management.

Going forward, the council will be contacting and engaging with key groups to shape the spaces inside and make the Hub a really valuable community facility for Dunstable.