New £6m Suffolk health facility opens to patients

Kirkley Mill Health Centre in Lowestoft one of first projects delivered by NHS Property Services

Kirkley Mill Health Centre

A new £6m health facility has been officially opened in Suffolk this week.

Kirkley Mill Health Centre in Lowestoft is one of the first new health facilities to be delivered by NHS Property Services working in close partnership with the local health commissioners.

The building was officially opened with a plaque unveiling and ribbon-cutting ceremony this week, which was attended by local dignitaries and leading officials from partners involved in the project, including NHS Property Services chairman, Robin Williams, and regional director, Martin Royal.

The Kirkley Mill project brief was to fast-track construction so that patients could benefit from it as soon as possible. The architects, Chaplin Farrant Architects initially, and latterly Frank Shaw Associates, worked with contractor, Kier Construction, to develop an innovative Cross Laminated Timber solution. This offered speed of construction, uninterrupted internal spaces and added building life, as well as internal flexibility of use in a readily-adaptable built environment where future modification could be achieved with minimal disturbance.

This fantastic new NHS health facility is one of the first in the country to be delivered by NHS Property Services and is providing patients with access to high-quality health services in a modern, safe, state-of-the-art environment

Kier Construction project manager, Henry Wadsworth, said: “We knew the use of Cross Laminated Timber would suit Kirkley Mill Health Centre project well as we have successfully used it on a number of previous schemes. Some of the installation team building the frame had also worked with us on two earlier jobs, which helped us ensure that this excellent new health centre went up as smoothly as possible.”

In addition they developed a unique design for the building’s front elevation, which incorporates a mill motif. This concept celebrates the existence of a windmill on the site during the 19th Century - Parr’s Windmill - the foundations of which were found during preparatory excavations.

A number of sustainable features have also been incorporated into the design, which will not only reduce the centre’s impact on the environment, but will help to save money through lower energy and water consumption. These include daylight sensors to reduce the need for artificial lighting; photocells and presence detectors so that lights switch off automatically when no one is present; and infrared taps in all consulting rooms which operate at controlled temperatures and shut off if no one is using them.

Royal said: “This fantastic new NHS health facility is one of the first in the country to be delivered by NHS Property Services and is providing patients with access to high-quality health services in a modern, safe, state-of-the-art environment.

“The building’s innovative design and use of the latest construction techniques and materials, speed, sustainability, and recycling have been dominant features of the build process. NHS Property Services looks forward to developing the Kirkley Care Campus as further phases are commissioned.”

The building’s innovative design and use of the latest construction techniques and materials, speed, sustainability, and recycling have been dominant features of the build process

A number of services have moved in since late spring and, when fully operational, the health centre will provide a range of services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry and speech and language therapy on the same site as the GP practices.

Suffolk County Council's social services will also have a presence in the building, marking the start of a more-integrated approach to health and social care provision in the town and the bringing together of a range of different services in the same building to offer local people a more joined-up service.

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