Jan 14 2011 By Camilla Goodman
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PLANS for a new NHS dentist in Chesham have been refused leaving the applicants desperate to find an alternative property quickly before the prospect permanently evaporates.
The application for the Vtooth Booth surgery in Berkhampstead Road was thrown out at a recent Chiltern District Council (CDC) Planning meeting, after losing out by one vote.
Applicants now say time is ticking on finding a premises for the surgery before its funding is withdrawn.
Dr Amit Rai, who would be the owner of the surgery, said: "Members at the meeting said there were alternative premises for us to set up in Chesham but that is not the case. There are zero premises available.
"Within a couple of months our funding for the dentist will disappear and with government cuts it's unlikely Chesham will get another opportunity. This is the last roll of the dice. With the VAT increase and the financial climate expected to get worsen before it improves, the prospect of having an NHS dentist is great."
Dr Rai said they could appeal against the decision but this would take about six months, which would be too late.
Plans for the dentist, which was going to move into Zoe hairdressers, was refused by members on the grounds of change of use. Members argued this would not be something residents in the area would use on a daily basis.
Dr Rai said: "They think having a café is more important than a dentist. Well they're on their own with that one, I fail to understand it. If we were refused for a reason such as parking then fair enough, I would respect it and understand it."
About 90 signatures on a petition from residents was submitted to the council with their main concern being parking. However, this was not a reason stated by CDC for refusal of the dentist.
Chiltern District Councillor Noel Brown, who is on the BCC overview and scrutiny committee for public health services and CDC planning committee, said: "There is a definite short fall of NHS dentists in Chesham. I positively would like to see us have one, but just somewhere different, perhaps closer to the town centre.
"At the meeting I had to support the local residents, I had to say sorry this is just the wrong place for it because I felt it would be causing more problems for them."
What do you think? Does Chesham need another dentist? Email firstname.lastname@example.org