A Wider Range of Health Facilities Could Be Provided to Former Taunton ‘White Elephant’



The range of healthcare facilities provided in a former Taunton ‘white elephant’ could soon be expanded if new plans are approved.

The Zenith Fire Control Center on Blackbrook Park Avenue was completed in 2007 and has never been used, costing taxpayers millions of pounds to maintain.

Somerset West and Taunton Council granted permission in September 2020 to transform the building into a diagnostic and innovation center, with construction starting in December.

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Rutherford Infrastructures – which will manage the facility in partnership with the NHS – has now asked to convert the first floor offices into additional clinical space.

The new center will relieve pressure on the Musgrove Park hospital as patients can travel to the other side of Taunton for diagnostic tests, freeing up existing services for other uses.

A spokesperson for the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (which runs the hospital) said in June 2020: “Over the past four years, we have seen a continuous increase in the number of patients requiring diagnostic testing as part of their care. reference channel.

Former Zenith Fire Control Center on Blackbrook Park Avenue in Taunton

“Additionally, the trust is located on a landlocked site, which means there are limited options for on-site expansion.

“The delivery of a new diagnostic center and imaging service will be part of a longer-term, system-wide approach to deliver a sustainable solution to the people of Somerset, delivering better value. -pricing, patient experience and national access standards. “

The ground floor of the building will house the main diagnostic center, comprising two MRIs, two CT scanners, an X-ray facility and an ultrasound facility.

According to the new proposals, the first floor will accommodate additional clinics, with the second floor still being used for administration.

Former Zenith Fire Control Center on Blackbrook Park Avenue in Taunton
Former Zenith Fire Control Center on Blackbrook Park Avenue in Taunton

A spokesperson for Ryder Architecture (representing the applicant) said that additional parking would be provided on site in conjunction with the new first floor installation.

The spokesperson said: “Plans were granted in September 2020 for a change in the use of the fire control center to a diagnostic center on the ground floor, with offices on the first and second floors.

“The current proposal requires a change in use of the first floor, for clinical purposes as required for the diagnostic center (and in line with NHS requirements) and an increase in parking spaces from 88 to 116.

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“This will allow this building to be used to the fullest, supporting the local community and increasing the supply of specialist medical professionals in the region while contributing to a comprehensive strategy to address a growing and urgent clinical need.”

The council is expected to make a decision on the new first floor plans by September 10, with the new center due to open to the public by the end of September, according to a council report.


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