A state-of-the-art new health centre has been completed off Barbara Castle Way, Alma Street and Simmons Street in Blackburn, Lancashire.
The name for the £21m centre was selected by the public. Barbara Castle, the only woman to have ever held the office for First Secretary of State, was MP for Blackburn from 1945 to 1979 and was described upon her death in 2002 as “one of the most remarkable women politicians of the last century.”
Built under the East Lancs LIFT Scheme, the health centre was handed over on Monday 19th September 2011 and will replace the existing services at nearby Montague and Larkhill health centres. Eric Wright Group was the private sector partner and main contractor for the joint venture with NHS Blackburn and Darwen Teaching Care Trust Plus. The architects were Nightingale Associates.
The 8000m² health centre is a five-storey building constructed in a conventional steel frame. The external brickwork is composed of salt glazed brick to complement the existing college alongBarbara Castle Way, and there is both terracotta tile and zinc cladding.
The build is triangular in shape with a central entrance along one leg of the triangle which gives ready access to all parts of the development. There are several innovative features, such as external terraces with some external hard landscaping.
Internally, the health centre will provide a range of services. These include: health education, treatment space, dermatology, minor surgery, podiatry, retinal screening, diabetes, diagnostics, x-ray, special care dentistry, pharmacy, GP practices, audiology, speech and language, child and family psychology, mental health services, sexual health services, physiotherapy and muscular skeletal services.
A central feature of the new centre is the Young Persons Resource Centre which will provide a range of services for young people through organisations including Brook, Connexions, Lifeline and Jobcentre Plus. These services include: sexual health, drug and alcohol advice, emotional and mental health services, as well as more universal services like treatment rooms and general help and advice. The health centre is located within close proximity to the neighbouring University Centre at Blackburn College and will be able to share some of its facilities and resources with the college.
Richard Turpin, Director of the Eric Wright Group, said: “Identifying, procuring and creating the site was a challenge. There were some complexities – most significantly the fact that the site was crossed by two important roads, both of which had to be diverted in order to create the site. In addition, the construction team had to deal with two particularly inclement winters which brought with them a lot of snow. However, the centre has been handed over on time, to BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard and we are proud to have been associated with the project which will now be managed by our Facilities division. More importantly, our partners are happy with the building and we are looking forward to opening the new facilities for the people of Blackburn.”