Residents in uproar over plans for dental surgery

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Residents of Oxfordshire town, Wantage are in uproar after plans were revealed to turn a closed chapel into a new dental practice.

Local people had been planning to convert the disused chapel into a performing arts centre; however, plans have been approved to turn the chapel into a new NHS surgery.

Dental firm Rodericks are believed to be in the process of purchasing St Mary’s Chapel; the surgery will create eight thousand NHS dental places if the plans are approved.

Local businessmen Andrew Burford and David Tinker were planning to turn the chapel into a performing arts centre and are outraged by the plans to create a new dental surgery. Mr Burford said that it would be a ‘travesty’ if the plans for the practice were approved; he claims local people do not want a new surgery and would much rather go ahead with the planned arts centre. Local MP Ed Vaizey recognises the importance of local NHS services but supports the local  bid and is encouraging Berkeley Homes, the current owner of the chapel, to donate the chapel to the local community. Mr Vaizey is due to meet with representatives from Berkeley Homes.

The NHS has announced that a new dental surgery would be extremely beneficial for local people; the new practice would improve access to local services to residents and provide places for eight thousand patients.

Carlos Clark, from Rodericks, said that the refurbishment would be done sympathetically and the surgery would retain many of the traditional features of the chapel. Mr Clark said that the new surgery would be a mix of the old and the new; he believes that the surgery would be an excellent use of the building as all members of the community would be able to make use of the facilities.

Local councillor Jenny Hannaby said that she was open to the idea of a new NHS practice but would prefer a community project. 

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