Could former Spar shop house surgery?

The former Spar shop in Longhoughton.
The former Spar shop in Longhoughton.

Longhoughton’s former Spar shop, which closed its doors in April, could be the ideal new home for the village’s doctors’ surgery, councillors have suggested.

The site, which also housed the Post Office, was shut after the Spar’s parent company, ISS, decided it was no longer viable.

No formal offers have yet been made for the building, which is owned by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), and it will soon be put up for sale.

But at Monday night’s parish council meeting, councillors said that the site could prove ideal for the medical practice, which members said was looking to relocate from Portal Place.

Explaining the situation, RAF Boulmer’s representative Simon Buist said: “The DIO will put the building up for sale, unless the parish council has a particular community need for that site. If that is the case, then the DIO would be happy to discuss the use of the site for the future if it is for a community benefit.

“There have been a few people wanting to know details about putting bids in, but there have been no formal requests from any party. The site could go up for any purpose, with planning consent required.

“The doctors’ surgery has shown an interest, but there has been nothing formal. They are looking for an alternative premises, because the current one is not ideal.

Parish council chairman Bryan Ellis said that he had spoken to the surgery a few months ago and staff had confirmed the desire to relocate, but this was subject to NHS funding. Coun Ellis said he would go back to the practice for an update and suggested that a relocation could possibly benefit from Section 106 money which is owed to the parish. Possible projects for this cash will be discussed at the January meeting.

Coun Eleanor Phillips is chasing the Co-op for information about the possibility of it taking on the village’s Post Office services.