BUILDING work has started on a new doctors’ surgery in Woolavington which is expected to serve thousands of patients.

The building at Crockers Hill will complement the existing Edington Surgery and is due to be completed later this year, ready to open to patients in January, 2015.

It will replace the outdated and cramped Woolavington branch surgery, which operates from a former council flat in Bitham Walk.

Dr Andrew Rowling, of Edington Surgery, said: “We’ve had a tremendous response from patients wanting to pre-register with us and everyone’s looking forward to seeing the new building taking shape.

“The new purpose-built surgery will transform the patient experience, and range of health care services and support we can offer the local community in Woolavington, Puriton and the surrounding area.

“We’ll also have state-of-the-art meeting and conferencing facilities that will be available for community use.”

It will offer additional nurse clinics, access to other health professionals, such as a midwife and dietician, and dispensing facilities, which will save patients the trip to Edington Surgery.

The plans will also provide a children’s play area, allotments, a community orchard and a series of much needed road improvements.

Planning consent has also been granted for 45 new homes on the rest of the site, including 18 affordable homes.

Construction is being carried out by Glas-tonbury firm Melhuish & Saunders.

Meanwhile, BAE Systems is in discussions with a preferred developer who will deliver the residential element on the remainder of the site.

Martin Davidson, chair of the practice’s patient participation group, said: “The development of the new surgery will complement the new Bridgwater Community Hospital.

“These will provide a tremendous boost for patient care in our area.”

Adrian Chidgey, chairman of Woolavington Parish Council, said: “The parish council worked alongside Edington Surgery and BAE Systems to deliver this much needed practice surgery and affordable housing.”

Work is expected to start on building the new homes in late 2014 or early 2015.