A DEFUNCT GP practice is to be demolished and replaced by a new state-of-the-art medical centre.

Abdullah’s Lily Ltd has had plans approved to knock down the old Layer Road Surgery and build a new centre specialising in endoscopy in its wake.

It means experts at the Toftwood site in Layer Road, Colchester, will be able to examine the inside of people’s bodies using cameras.

The new centre will create 15 jobs and have accommodation for staff on the second floor, providing seven one bedroom flats.

Gazette: Defunct - the former Layer Road surgery has been empty since November 2017Defunct - the former Layer Road surgery has been empty since November 2017 (Image: Google)

A report states most procedures will be NHS commissioned and at NHS tariffs, although the site will be run and managed privately.

Layer Road Surgery closed in November 2017 and patients were moved to Creffield Medical Centre, which merged with North Hill Medical Group.

The building has been vacant ever since and has suffered from anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

Planning chiefs at Colchester Council have now approved plans to transform it after a 15 month application process.

Gazette: Vision - how the new medical centre could lookVision - how the new medical centre could look (Image: Abdullah's Lily Ltd)

A report from Abdullah’s Lily states: “The NHS has historically been under pressure to deliver specialist services, in addition to the large increase in accident and emergency departments and outpatient services.

“This has been made even more pressing after the cancellation of thousands of procedures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This specialist medical centre is envisaged as one part of a range of measures that will be required to reduce this backlog in endoscopy services.”

The report reveals the practice will also be the first centre to treat obesity endoscopically – which can mean the fitting of gastric bands - in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

Gazette: Pleased - Shrub End councillor Lyn BartonPleased - Shrub End councillor Lyn Barton (Image: Newsquest)

In total 15 staff will be employed there, with two doctor endoscopists, 11 nurses, a receptionist and a person in a domestic role.

Shrub End councillor Lyn Barton said: “It is very good news because we have a shortage here.

“Any extra facilities that we can get in Shrub End can only be a good thing. I’m sure it will make a big difference.

“There was a shortage so it was needed and I am very pleased to hear action has been taken.”