AN APPLICATION to turn the first floor of a building in Windermere into a dental surgery has been approved.
The project at Bertrum Chambers in Ellerthwaite Square is set to help Zebra Dental meet ‘significant demand’ and take on NHS patients.
A ‘rationale for expansion’ submitted in support of the application said the company was operating at ‘physical capacity’ at the site – which has dental surgeries in the basement and on the ground floor.
The document said Zebra Dental was in the ‘unique position’ of having clinicians available should planning permission be granted – allowing the practice to expand its service.
“We do not have an NHS contract, but have been in contact with commissioners who have confirmed we would be entitled to bid for NHS funding if this was offered by tender and we had capacity to offer such care,” said the document.
“We cannot commit to the additional space being offered to NHS patients as we cannot commit to either submitting a tender or being successful bidders.
“However, we could consider this as an option if we had the capacity.”
The statement said finding a dentist had become ‘increasingly challenging’ and that reasons for this included the loss, in the UK, of many dentists from the European Union due to Brexit, and the closure of some of the nation’s dental schools in the 1990s.
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The kitchen and toilet on the first floor have been used by staff for a number of years. The floor has also been used for storage. The statement said this level had not been used for residential purposes.
The second floor of the building is used as a residential flat.
A planning statement submitted by Garner Planning in support of the application said: “The provision of an additional dental surgery as part of an existing clinic is an appropriate use of the first floor of the building, in a location which is easily accessible for patients living in Windermere.”
The change-of-use application, submitted by Ian Gordon, of Zebra Dental, was given the green light by the Lake District National Park Authority.