What a fiasco!

Those of us who have been waiting with bated breath for a year for the delayed opening of the Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre, being aware that public projects in this twenty-first century tend to go wrong in some way, will be both unsurprised and appalled by the revelations in your paper about the pedestrian access fiasco.

Surely it takes little more than kindergarten intelligence to work out that there will be considerable use of the bus by patients coming up from the town and this will require:

1. A bus stop in a layby as close to the centre as can be reasonably arranged, a layby being advisable for the likely extended time of offloading and loading of patient passengers;

2. A properly surfaced shortest path from the bus stop to the entrance of the centre without steps but ramped as necessary in accordance with established practice with regard to gradients;

3. Handrails where appropriate.

You report that patient representatives Jonathan Hawkins and Dave Cawley  made formal representations about this matter but these have been ignored. Those responsible for this near-unbelievable incompetence should be metaphorically shot at dawn. 

Brian Parker


Access ‘labels’ are simply not true

Ginny Ware reports (April 27) that pedestrian access to our new Health & Wellbeing centre is ‘dangerous” and “ludicrous” (April 27). These labels are simply not true. 

The gravel path that has been installed from the A3122 to the new centre cuts through a wooded area. It was never intended to be a primary access route. The nature of the terrain prohibits the installation of a pathway suitable for those with disability eg wheel chairs and steps were required at the road entrance because of the steepness of the incline. In addition deeper foundations could not be dug because of the risk of damage to the trees. The able bodied, and children in buggies with larger wheels, will be able to use the subsidiary entrance if wanting to do so and a gate has been installed to reduce the likelihood of young children running onto the road. 

The majority of visitors to the health centre are expected to use the main entrance at the front of the building whether they arrive by car or by bus (local buses will drop off inside the car park).  In addition there is a 3 car drop off zone immediately in front of the entrance to the health centre for those with mobility issues.

I suggest my fellow Trust Governors Dave Cawley and Cllr Jonathan Hawkins are being mendacious in their complaint as they know these facts only too well. At the HWC consultation meeting with the Hospital Trust earlier this week it was agreed that until the centre was open it is not possible to know how many visitors are likely to use the rear entrance. Time will tell. 

Dr Craig Davidson

South Hams Elected Governor