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Creffield Medical Centre, Colchester, Essex

GPI breathes new life into listed building

Project: 6 GP Training Practice/ Pharmacy

Size: 1200 sq m

Commenced on-site: 7th March 2011

Completed: 28th November 2011

GPI Project Director: Will Sheardown, Regional Director, South East

Architectural Design: Weston Architects

Construction: RG Carter

The transformation has been achieved whilst still retaining a number of the original features of the building including the original roof trusses, window openings and external fabric of the buildings.

The new facility is housed within the former military riding school building, transforming a previously disused Grade II listed building into something local people can feel proud of.

The Practice now operate from 10 GP consulting rooms which include training facilities for 2 GPs, 3 nurse consulting rooms and 2 dedicated treatment rooms with utilities.

The double height waiting area in the centre of the building is just one example of how GPI’s development team were able to combine aesthetic innovation with practical and policy requirements and the result is outstanding.

The transformation continues outside with the provision of a new car parking area for both staff and patients as well as dedicated covered cycle parking and good pedestrian links.

“Patients have commented on the pleasure of visiting such an impressive building and its welcoming but professional feel. We now feel we have a working environment suitable for the developing needs of health care in the 21st century.”

Dr Vivien St Joseph
Creffield Medical Centre, Colchester

Ground Floor, Creffield Medical Centre, Colchester

Ground Floor
Click on plan to enlarge

First Floor, Creffield Medical Centre, Colchester

First Floor
Click on plan to enlarge

The new Creffield Medical Centre represents the culmination of several years’ hard work for the partners and staff at the surgery. The previous building was a converted residential property which had become unsuitable for the delivery of modern healthcare and was limiting the practice’s ability to develop services and expand the practice. GPI were appointed as the practice’s development partner and tasked with finding and acquiring a suitable site, developing a design to reflect the practice’s vision and ultimately to deliver a new medical facility to serve the community for many years. The final result is a building which has exceeded expectations and enables the practice to expand and improve services, has created a great working environment and transformed a previously disused Grade II listed building into something local people can feel proud of.

The new facility is housed within the former military riding school building within this large scale residential development and retains good links both to the patients of the Practice and also the centre of Colchester itself.

One of the things that really stands out about this project is the design aspects that have truly transformed a disused building into an impressive local landmark. The 1200 sq m scheme has converted a former riding school into a modern medical facility set over two floors and includes a pharmacy on site to further enhance the services available to the patients. The complete transformation has been achieved whilst still retaining a number of the original features of the building including the original roof trusses, window openings and external fabric of the buildings. This work enabled the retention of the original high and open roof structure, providing the building with its key feature of high level windows running along the spine of the building. These features really do add to the overall impact the building is able to achieve. The extensive works carried out have breathed new life into this historic building, providing a modern health facility for patients and the Practice staff alongside achieving a BREEAM rating of “very good” hand in hand with a carbon reduction of nearly 20%. The design and development team were able to combine aesthetic innovation with practical and policy requirements and the final result is outstanding.

Inside the building, the Practice now operate from 10 GP consulting rooms which include training facilities for 2 GPs, 3 nurse consulting rooms and 2 dedicated treatment rooms with utilities. In addition to these rooms, there are also councillor rooms and examination rooms available alongside the large double height waiting area in the centre of the building. The Practice staff also now benefit from appropriately sized and equipped meeting and staff facilities, as well as a range of administrative areas. The transformation continues outside with the provision of a new car parking area for both staff and patients as well as dedicated covered cycle parking and good pedestrian links both to the town itself and the local bus network.

Throughout the project GPI worked closely with NHS North East Essex and the Creffield Medical Practice to ensure that the scheme was designed not only to meet the needs and aspirations of the Practice but also to deliver a building which offered value for money to the local health economy. Added to this was a close working relationship with local planning Authority and Conservation Officers so as to ensure that the proposals and suggestions of all parties were accommodated at every step. Instrumental to this process was Paul Weston of Weston Architects, one of GPI’s longest standing architects, who worked tirelessly to ensure that each suggestion was considered from every angle and progressed in line with the requirements of all parties.

In summarising the project, the Lead GP for the Practice, Dr Vivien St Joseph wrote:

“On December 5th 2011 we moved into our new GP premises, the culmination of nearly 4 years work. For most of that time we were working closely with GPI, a company selected by us at interview who impressed us from our first meeting with their friendly professionalism. We have worked closely with several individual members of their team at different stages of the project and always found them extremely supportive. Their input in initial discussions and project planning with the PCT was influential in getting funding for the project approved. The architect appointed by them was innovative and patient with our suggested modifications to the design. GPI took all the strain of selecting a suitable builder and of supervising the construction process. They have a good working knowledge of Health Service needs, with the flexibility to absorb our individual requirements. The individual contacts have always been accessible by email or telephone and generous with their time, energy and intelligent problem solving attitude. Working with GPI has been a pleasure and has made the project stimulating and enjoyable. At all times, their “can-do” attitude and the knowledge that they have completed many similar projects has given me confidence. We look forward to working with them for the next twenty five years and would have no hesitation in recommending them to other GP practices or commissioning groups looking for development support. The response from both staff and patients to the new premises has been fantastic. Staff morale has been boosted by working in such an architecturally uplifting building; full of light and space but with architectural interest and efficient topography. Patients have commented on the pleasure of visiting such an impressive building and its welcoming but professional feel. We now feel we have a working environment suitable for the developing needs of health care in the 21st century.”

GPI has again proven its ability to deliver schemes that at the outset appeared unviable. Through good navigation of complex policy changes and excellent working relationships with the client and design team GPI was able to deliver an excellent value for money scheme in a complicated situation and in uncertain times for the NHS as a whole. Commenting on the project, Will Sheardown, Regional Director for the South East said:

“The Creffield Medical Centre represented one of the most interesting achievements of the past year. With the good working relationship that was generated with the NHS, the practice and the professional team, the scheme was able to regenerate a Grade II listed building to its former glories and provide the community with primary medical services for years to come”.

The design and development team are very proud of the end result. Added to this is a great sense of achievement and satisfaction, knowing that the client is also so impressed with the project and that it really will make a difference to the local community.

GPI continues to invest in the Primary Care sector and the Creffield Medical Centre project represents a £2.5m capital investment providing 1,200 sq m of space for a busy and ambitious practice.

Enquiries

Will Sheardown,
Regional Director

T: 020 7881 9700

Email: william.sheardown@gpgroup.co.uk