New health centre on the horizon

Proposed view from Cardigan St.
Proposed view from Cardigan St.

Posted - May 03, 2011

Could open September 2012

The Primary Health Care Trust has applied for planning permission for the new £11.5-million Jericho Health Centre, which will be one of the first new buildings on the old Radcliffe Infirmary site.

There will be four storeys: the ground floor for the health centre, the first floor for the University Department for Primary Care, and the second floor for Oxford University Press. The top, windowless floor has the building’s services.

Construction could start in May, with occupation in September 2012 by the three current medical practices. This falls short of the original ambition. Dr Andy Chivers, says “It would have been nice to have had more practices and services, but within the constraints of affordability we have achieved a good functional build.”

And it may be possible to have more health services in future. It is not clear, for example, whether OUP’s occupancy is permanent. A covenant on the building prevents commercial services, so there is no pharmacy, though Lloyds is adjacent.

Described by the Civic Society as “bland and uninspiring”, the building, seems unlikely to offer a striking vista along Walton Street. It is also separated from it by the existing wall, though this will help with soundproofing and offer a secure space for cycle parking.

This now raises the question of what will happen to the existing health centre building at the top of Cranham Street. The ground floor is owned by the Primary Care Trust. But the two floors above, making up St Pauls House, have eight flats: five owned by the Council and three which were bought from the Council as part of the right-to-buy scheme. This could make for a very complex redevelopment.

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Did you know?

Where the name Jericho comes from?

The name Jericho is probably taken from the parable of the Good Samaritan. Traditionally the name was given to places where travellers who arrived after the town gates had closed at sunset could find lodgings overnight.

About the church bells?

Originally the Church only had the single ‘Barney’s Bell’. In 1890, when the clock was installed, it was decided to add a set of tubular bells to ring the chimes and the hour strike, as well as a tune or ‘carillon’. The are driven by an elaborate mechanical contraption.