New lease of life plans for Griffin Lodge with proposals for health hub

Published Tuesday 14 December 2021 at 11:03

Proposals to restore and extend Blackburn’s historic Griffin Lodge as a health and wellbeing centre for local people have been submitted to planners at the Council.

The idea of restoring and expanding the Grade II listed building, which was once the home of the Mayor of Blackburn, was first proposed by Witton, Limefield and Redlam medical centres in 2017 and has finally been submitted for formal planning permission.

Currently, the practices are all based in former houses which weren’t built for clinical care or services.  As a result, the practices need new premises which are a better fit for the purpose of clinical care.

The practices have teamed up with North West-based primary care premises specialist, Assura, to work to turn their plans and people’s suggestions into reality.

The new hub at Griffin Lodge would allow the practices to offer extended services away from hospital, bringing those services closer to people’s homes and workplaces. These would include minor operations, a much wider range of clinics and support including social prescribing, physiotherapy, mental health services for young people, COPD and pulmonary rehabilitation and many other wellbeing services on site.

Other plans include creating space for training of student nurses, doctors and nurse practitioners and as a local health education and outside space.

Dr Hereward Brown from Limefield Medical Centre said:

This has been in the making for a really long time and there’s no doubt that the experiences of the last year have brought our premises challenges into even sharper focus. This would be a huge project but an enormously exciting one for the care we can deliver to our patients and the working life of our teams, as well as a fantastic thing for Blackburn to see this historic site transformed and put to work once again for our community.”

Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council would provide the site for the scheme and Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development, said:

Griffin Lodge has been out of use for a long time so to have it brought back into use would be a really positive thing. It is a fantastic Grade II listed building but has been unfortunately derelict for a while. The Council and Assura have put a great deal of work in to develop this and I’m really pleased to see the plans being submitted.

It is also great to see the plans for a community health hub in our borough. This is especially important after the last two years which have been really challenging to say the least.”

Dr Mark Dziobon, Medical Director for Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire CCGs said:

This is a major proposal for the area and is a really exciting development. For patients this is going to be a game changer. Over 90% of the contact people have with the NHS locally is via their GP and GP practice. So it is important that people have not only modern and accessible GP services but also services operating out of buildings that are ahead of the times and our expectations. We know that patients want health and care services to be joined up, closer to home and the best that they can be and this development is a major step in that direction”.

Patients do not need to take any action and would begin using the new site when it opens as a health hub – subject to planning and construction timescales – in 2024. As the planning process progresses, anyone wanting to submit feedback or an idea about the scheme can do so via

Assura Senior Development Manager, David Sadler, said:

This is a real first for Assura and such an exciting scheme to be working on. We’ve already transformed a number of older buildings into incredible modern medical centres, from a Victorian school to a former fire station, but this is on a very different scale. The opportunity to help these three practices create their new home at the same time as protecting a local landmark for the future makes this doubly special.”


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