LOCAL representatives are hopeful that the coronavirus crisis will not halt the 'significant strides' made in their campaign for a new health centre for Cefn Mawr.

Community councillors heard in February that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was looking at a number of sites for a new surgery.

Clwyd South MS Ken Skates and county councillor Derek Wright had met with Cefn Community Council to provide an update as part of their ongoing campaign for a new health centre for the village.

“Derek and I have met with the health board numerous times to push for this new facility for the people of Cefn and the wider community. We have made the strongest case possible, and we will hold further discussions with the interim chief executive Gill Harris next week,” said Mr Skates.

Mr Skates met with former chief executive Gary Doherty earlier this year to once again raise the issue at the highest level.

In a follow-up letter, Mr Doherty said BCUHB 'have continually evaluated the potential development options in the area'.

Mr Skates continued: “Due to commercial sensitivities it is not possible for the health board to release details of the sites under consideration, but what we can say is that they’ve been looking at a number of possible options.

“Before the coronavirus outbreak, the pros and cons of each were being weighed up and further, more detailed, investigations and survey work were due to be undertaken.

“The health board had promised a definitive update, including timelines, within a few weeks, but understandably everything has been turned upside down by what has happened in the last few months."

Cllr Wright added: "It's frustrating that we had made significant strides and things have now had to be put on the back-burner for the time being, but coronavirus has changed all of our lives and that has to be the health board's top priority.

“We are grateful to the interim chief executive for agreeing to update us next week and hopefully we will be able to pick up where we left off."

Mr Skates and Cllr Wright, along with late community council chairman Ken Bathers, presented a petition of more than 2,000 names calling for a new surgery to BCUHB in 2016 and the campaign has continued since.

Cllr Wright said: “We have explored the possibility of co-locating council services in a new build, which could have opened up new funding opportunities, but Wrexham Council didn’t want to be involved.

“It’s a shame, but we have been fighting for this for a number of years and we’re not going to give up. All the hard work will be worth it when this comes to fruition.”

Earlier this year the health board said it would take forward the development of a business case. Mr Doherty's letter to Mr Skates concluded: “This will depend on identifying the preferred site and completing preparatory work, and prioritising this scheme within the health board’s overall programme of investments.”

Mr Skates concluded: “There has been a lot of discussion and a lot of hard work on this so far, and like everyone in the area Derek and I hoped there would be spades in the ground by now. But we have been making real and tangible progress, and I look forward to hearing the health board's plans now we have managed to get this back on the agenda.”