A LONG-AWAITED new healthcare centre is set to be built on a rapidly growing estate.

Plans have been unveiled for the surgery in Great Western Park amid fears Didcot's health system is struggling to cope with the town's population growth.

To be constructed on the junction of Candytuft Way and Greenwood Way, the three-storey building will feature 10 consulting rooms as well as a waiting room, training spaces and offices.

Mocky Khan, whose Labour group on Didcot Town Council has previously raised fears the health system is 'crumbling', said it was a 'relief' to finally see the plans.

He added: "Thousands more homes have been built in this area since the last health centre opened.

"Labour councillors representing this area have repeatedly been told by residents that a GP surgery on Great Western Park is a priority.

"It is a relief that the planning application for this is at last in.

"This new surgery is long overdue - with increased development and demand it will be welcomed by the families who, in the last few years, have faced the long walk to the Woodlands Medical Centre."

The first residents moved on to Great Western Park in 2014 and building work has continued apace since then with the estimated date for completion of all 3,300 homes set for 2022.

The surgery is the latest amenity to be built to help service the estate, joining schools, shops, community centres and sports facilities.

It will come with 18 car parking spaces and cycle stands.

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is planning for the new practice to serve 20,000 patients in the vicinity and for work to begin within three years.

Leader of the town council Steve Connel said he hoped in the future residents would not be made to wait for facilities as they moved on to new developments.

He said: "The new health centre is something which I am sure will be greatly welcomed by the people of Didcot.

"As expected the dramatic growth of the town not only placed more pressure on Didcot’s road network, but also increased the average waiting time to see a doctor.

"I sincerely hope that the future developments planned for Didcot will learn from this and ensure that new residents are not made to wait for shops, schools and health facilities."

The planning application comes before a public meeting is held on Monday to discuss the current and future health needs of Didcot.

Councillors and members of the public will meet in Didcot Civic Hall from 7.45pm.

The council passed a motion in March and wrote to health leaders after concerns were raised that residents will face ever-longer waiting times and have to travel further to see their GP, if new developments go ahead without investment in healthcare.

Josephine Wilkes, spokeswoman for Oxfordshire CCG, said it was planning for population growth in Didcot and Wantage and was working very closely with local councils to ensure its plans were based on accurate, agreed estimates of housing and population in the future.

The national NHS has challenged the CCG to come up with a 'solution that is innovative and transformational', according to Ms Wilkes.

She added: "In Didcot, new housing developments will ultimately result in an additional 21,000 people over the next 10 years and this includes the developments at Great Western Park.

"We are therefore exploring a number of options with local providers for how primary care services can be expanded and delivered in the town to ensure all residents have appropriate services available to them."