PLANS for a new £8m health centre in Horwich have come a step closer after Bolton Council agreed to hand over the land where it will sit.

Under the plans the council will retain the surrounding land and develop it as a 170-space car park for visitors to the centre, the nearby new leisure centre and visitors to he town centre.

The council was approached to provide land to accommodate a new multi-purpose primary care health and wellbeing hub for Horwich.

They have now agreed to a proposal for a 150-year lease for the section of land the building footprint will sit on and for the council to develop and run the car parking on the remainder of the site.

In a report to deputy council leader Cllr Martyn Cox, who made the decision to release the land, Bolton Council’s director of place, Gerry Brough, said: “An independent review and appraisal of land across Horwich was carried out as instructed by health partners and this site was identified as the only and preferred option due to its size, location and proximity to the leisure centre.

“The concept design for the scheme allows for circa 170 car park spaces.

“The construction of the car park areas will be undertaken by Bolton Council or a council nominated third party.”

The plans would see the co-location of two of the three GP practices in Horwich, Pikes View Medical Centre and Bolton Community Practice, with additional services to be provided from Royal Bolton Hospital community services and neighbourhood teams.

Other primary care staff such as pharmacists, physicians, nurses and mental health practitioners, alongside services such as podiatry, mental health support, health visiting, occupational therapy and midwifery will work from there.

A public consultation was undertaken last month to seek a view of what should go on the land,

Respondents were encouraged to read the full proposal before submitting comments to the consultation, after which they were asked how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the implementation of a new health and wellbeing hub.

From 352 responses 92 per cent of people were in favour of the proposal outlined.

Cllr Cox said: “It is very important that the vision for the hub is shaped by the people and communities who would use the facilities and services it could deliver.”