STRUCTURE: A plan to develop a “health and wellbeing centre” on the site of the former Battle hospital in Reading has been scrapped.

The NHS Berkshire primary care trust cluster said the decision was down to factors including “financial constraints” and “changes around health needs”.

Chief executive Charles Waddicor said: “A lot has changed since the ideas for a health and wellbeing centre were first put forward eight years ago.

“Health needs are different and other local services such as the Reading Walk-In Centre have opened. We are also fbacing the biggest financial pressure the NHS has ever faced. The combination of all these factors means we have to consider very carefully how we make the best use of the funding available to us.”

He added: “We have had to consider the multi-million pound investment that would need to be found to complete the centre and also consider the fact that frontline services would be affected by us having to fund the centre’s running costs.

“The viability of the centre was also affected by Reading Borough Council’s decision that it would no longer require part of the building to house social services staff.”

The PCT cluster is currently considering how to make better use of funding contributed by developers as part of planning agreements, and said it and clinical commissioning group leaders are “still committed to improving health services in Reading”.

Dr Rod Smith, GP Lead for North and West Reading Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are very aware that GP practices within the locality need help to improve their premises and enable them to provide more services to patients.

“We are talking to our colleagues at Reading Borough Council on how to make the best use of the section 106 developer contributions for Health Services in the local area.”