THE development of a new $6.5 million medical precinct in Thornton has been approved by Maitland Council.
The nine-suite health practice – which is could employ more than 50 staff – was given the green light by councillors at its meeting on Tuesday night.
It will be the largest of its kind in the Maitland area, and will house a number of services including general practitioners, radiography, pathology collection services, a pharmacy and specialist rooms.
The development application receive two objections from local pharmacists, who said the massive facility would have a negative impact on the community and area’s economy.
Following the meeting, mayor Loretta Baker said the development was “a good piece of infrastructure for Thornton”.
“It gives them health services close to where they live. I know there is some angst about the chemist but we were told by council officers that we needed to support it because of the growth,” Cr Baker said.
But not all councillors welcomed the multi-million dollar development with North Ward Labor councillor Robert Aitchison raising concerns about the large pharmacy proposed.
“This is pushing the envelope a little bit too far. I do understand from a council perspective, we have taken legal consideration. It comes down to the zoning,” he said.
“I do have concern for the community such as the size of the chemist, and how it will fit in.”
However, the pharmacy’s opening hours will be subjected to conditions.
“This is solely not about the pharmacy. We are talking about a facility that has nine suites available. It’s a significant investment in the area, and important for the community,” Cr Philip Penfold said.