Access to GPs, new housing developments and details about the new Wellington station were the big issues which came up at a public meeting in the town on Tuesday evening.

More than 60 residents attended the forum, organised by the Wellington branch of the Liberal Democrats, which was designed to throw some light on future services and infrastructure in the community.

Questions came thick and fast to a panel of four; David Northey, former Network Rail planner; Dr Harry Yoxall, retired GP and NHS administrator; Melissa Whittaker from Cash Access UK, providers of the new Fore Street banking hub; and Gideon Amos, Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate and town planner by profession.

Harry Yoxall
Dr Harry Yoxall, retired GP (Liberal Democrats)

“We had a terrific span of knowledge and experience on the panel, and they came up with good answers and explanations to some very tough questions,” said Cllr Keith Wheatley, who chaired the meeting.

“I don’t think many people had fully understood how many new services and responsibilities Wellington’s town council is going to have to take on as Somerset Council withdraws into providing almost the statutory minimum.”

Many in the audience were fascinated to hear Dr Yoxall’s detailed statistical examples of how demand for GP interaction had risen per patient, while the actual number of doctors available had fallen. However, GP recruitment in Somerset had improved recently.

Ms Whittaker said although the new Banking Hub was in temporary premises next door to the museum, lease negotiations were almost concluded to give it a permanent base in Wellington town centre.

Melissa Kite
Melissa Whittaker, NHS administrator (Liberal Democrats)

Sadly, she also confirmed there was no prospect of their hub becoming a Post Office.

Mr Northey made some intriguing comments about how the new station should be looked at as bringing people into Wellington as well as providing outbound travel.

Drawing on his own professional experience with the reopening of the Exeter-Okehampton rail service, he said that the West Devon town centre was being rejuvenated by an influx of visitors.

In a rousing final speech, Mr Amos told the meeting that many of the problems of local government could only be fixed by an urgent re-organising of the financial relationship between Westminster and the rest of the country.