A PLANNING application for a brand new health centre which was first announced 10 years ago has finally been submitted — and has been welcomed by campaigners.
In 2004, the Neath Port Talbot Local Health Board announced that a new primary care centre would be built in Briton Ferry.
Now an application has been submitted to Neath Port Talbot Council for a two-storey health centre with pharmacy at plot 6b, Baglan Bay Energy Park, Brunel Way.
As well as the above, a cafe or office is set to be included in the ground floor, with more offices on the first floor and a further two-storey office unit.
There will also be associated roads, car parking, landscaping and engineering operations.
The centre will replace the existing health centre in Hunter Street and health bosses have said the modern purpose-built building will deliver a range of health services.
The centre will also be a base for trainee GPs, which should help with local recruitment and retention of doctors.
Briton Ferry West councillor, Huw James, whose ward the centre falls in, said he was thrilled the plans were submitted.
"It's going ahead," he said. "It's absolutely great news.
"To be fair to them (the health board), they have been looking at sites around Briton Ferry for years.
"There have been a lot of questions with everything that's been happening, what with the changes to the schools and everything like that, but it's nice to see things moving on.
"We need a 21st century health centre to be honest, it will have al the facilities that we don't have now."
He said he hoped concerns the elderly had raised about how they would get to the new centre would hopefully be met by a bus service to the facility.
Last week, calls were made for veteran Briton Ferry councillor Stan Atherton to be recognised when the new centre is built.
A consultation period is now open until May 21 for any comments to be made about the application.
If the planning permission is successful for the long-awaited facility, work is due to start in June. It is hoped that the centre could be completed by July 2015.
Plans for a £3 million Primary Care Centre in the Neath Valley were also submitted last year.