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Quigley Dental Practice, in Northfleet, apply for planning permission to expand

A dentist claims there is a “desperate need” for more surgeries in their part of Kent as they hope to expand.

Quigley Dental Practice, in Hunt Road, Northfleet, has asked for permission to change the use of the building’s first floor from a residential flat into a dentist.

It was to expand into the upstairs flat. Picture: Google Maps
It was to expand into the upstairs flat. Picture: Google Maps

Applicant Dr Mihir Shar wants to create an extra three surgery rooms meaning they can see double the amount of patients - from 30 to 75 a day.

In the submitted cover letter, they said, if approved, the expansion will “help meet demand as there is a desperate need to provide for NHS patients in the area.”

According to the applicant’s research, there are 15 practices in a five-mile radius supporting more than 220,000 people and none are accepting NHS adult patients.

It added: “This means that the demand for NHS dentistry and dentistry in general is greater than ever.”

The plans are set to be discussed at Gravesham council’s planning committee tomorrow (May 22) after a councillor called it in.

The scheme has been recommended for approval by officers as it will “enhance existing infrastructure which improves community wellbeing.”

It means they will be able to see 75 patients a day. Picture:iStock
It means they will be able to see 75 patients a day. Picture:iStock

To see more planning applications and other public notices for your area, click here.

In their report, they added: “On balance, the benefits of the scheme would outweigh the minor impact of the loss of one residential unit.”

However, 10 objections have been lodged by residents who are concerned about the increase in traffic and parking which they claim is already an issue.

There are no plans for parking drawn up into the scheme or at the already existing dentist, yet, council officers said there is already “adequate local public parking provision”.

In August hundreds of people spent hours queuing overnight outside a dental practice in Faversham after bosses announced it would be opening up NHS slots.

It came a month before a damning report found people across the UK have been forced to pull out their teeth because they cannot get appointments.

The Health and Social Care Committee’s examination of NHS dentistry called for “urgent and fundamental reform” and said there was evidence of pain and distress that is “totally unacceptable in the 21st century”.

The document cites a YouGov poll of 2,104 people across the UK conducted in March 2023.

It found 10% of people admitted to attempting “DIY dentistry”. More than half (56%) of the group carried it out in the last year and 20% said they did so because they could not find an NHS dentist.

The survey also found 22% of people were not registered with a dentist, with 23% of those saying it is because they cannot afford treatment.

The committee received written evidence from more than 30 Healthwatch groups, with case studies provided by Healthwatch Lincolnshire highlighting how people had pulled problem teeth out with pliers, or been forced to make a five-hour round trip to see an NHS dentist.

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