THE park-and-ride at Creekmoor has been confirmed as the site for a new drive-through coronavirus testing centre.
Earlier this week, the county’s director of public health revealed discussions were under way about setting up a new facility.
And councillors have now been told the Department of Health has chosen Creekmoor park-and-ride for the centre with an aim of it being operational by Monday (April 27), writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
The site, which has most recently held a park-and-ride facility for Poole over the Christmas period, has had limited use since it was opened in 2003.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds was spent on it in 2018 so it could be used during major road schemes in Poole town centre.
It has also been earmarked as a “holding site” for vehicles travelling to the Port of Poole as part of Brexit preparations. BCP Council was awarded £90,000 by the government last year for the this work.
And now the park-and-ride has been chosen to house the area’s drive-through coronavirus testing centre which was first revealed earlier this week.
It follows concerns from care providers of the “incredibly unfair” arrangement which has seen them told the closest testing site for their staff is a 250-mile round-trip away at Gatwick Airport.
The facility will be managed by the Department of Health through its partnership with Deloitte and is part of its work to set up “around 50” such facilities across the country.
Council leader Vikki Slade said the council had worked hard to make the park-and-ride ready.
“We have moved extremely quickly to identify a suitable site and complete all necessary arrangements and site clearance required to make it available to the Department of Health and Social Care, so that they can begin testing our local NHS and key workers as soon as possible,” she said.
“This means that Dorset’s key workers will have much more convenient access to testing, which is very welcome indeed.”
Creekmoor ward councillor Judy Butt has also welcomed the use of the site.
“l am honoured that the Creekmoor park-and-ride is to be used to tackle this killer virus and save lives, as this necessary facility will safeguard the NHS and all our key workers in their fight to protect us, the residents of BCP,” she said.
“My community, l know, will be equally proud in the pivotal part they are playing in hosting this new site.
“With every assurance given by Department of Health for the safety of the staff manning the site, and the local residents in proximity to the site, l look forward to seeing the facility opened as soon as possible.”
The centre is due to be operational from Monday and will be for key workers with appointments booked through their employers.
People are urged not to turn up uninvited, and security will be in place around the clock.