Dental surgery may be forced to leave Sleaford after planning refusal

The future is uncertain for a popular dental surgery in Sleaford which had plans for a new facility refused in a ‘technical knockout’.

Sleaford Smile Centre dental practice, based in Clover House on Boston Road (not Clover Dental Care, as previously reported elsewhere), had sought permission for a purpose-built facility on Valley Gate, off East Road.

The practice has already given notice on their lease after a previous relocation fell through.

Despite support for the business, the planning committee said the area was earmarked for industrial use.

After the application was refused permission for going against planning policies, the business says they may have to move out of town.

A representative for the business told North Kesteven District Council that they were relying on the plans being approved.

“If it isn’t accepted, we don’t have premises to move into and nothing on the horizon. We would have to consider relocating out of town which would be devastating,” he said.

“A lot of time and energy has gone into the business over the last 11 years. We have earned a reputation for quality service and community engagement, and help to ease the pressure on NHS dental services.”

He said the business had made a thorough search of town centre premises, but none fit their needs after outgrowing current premises.

Ward Councillor Robert Oates said: “Sadly if refused, this strong local business will have no option but to move out of Sleaford, losing a valuable dental service. They are willing to invest in high-tech services not available anywhere else.”

The purpose-built facility would have allowed the surgery to eventually double the number of staff.

There were concerns about how accessible the new out-of-town location would be, however the majority of patients had said they would have no problem travelling.

Coun Marianne Overton claimed there was more than enough industrial land available, but only one other member joined her proposal to approve plans, which were rejected by 10 votes to 2.

Coun Richard Johnston said it was a “pity” that policies didn’t allow for the application, describing it as a “technical knockout”.

Coun Mervyn Head said it came down to what planning policies allow.