A state-of-the-art development is set to open its doors to the public for the first time today.
Local residents have watched The Orchard Centre, a £14m facility in Orchard Park Road, Orchard Park, north Hull, rise up from the ground since construction work started in April 2008.
Now, as one of the first local residents prepares to walk through the doors of the flagship building, the vision to bring a wide range of public services under one roof in Orchard Park has become a reality, with the city's primary care trust NHS Hull and Hull City Council working in close partnership with Citycare, Hull's Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) company which has developed nine health centres since the national NHS LIFT progamme was launched in the city in 2004, to bring the scheme to fruition.
Dave Fowlie, who is chair of the Thorpe Residents' Association, says people have already adopted the building.
"Everyone thinks The Orchard Centre is fantastic," said Mr Fowlie, who is also a board member on the Northern Area Housing Board and chair of the governors at Thorpe Park Primary School. "The building will hopefully kickstart regeneration in Orchard Park and it goes to show that things really do happen here and people do honour their promises.
"When you look at the length of time the centre has been under construction for and the fact that there has hardly been any vandalism on site in that time, it speaks for itself in telling you that people are proud of The Orchard Centre - it's an exciting time for us with other developments that are in the pipeline here.
"People I have spoken to have been impressed by what they have seen on the outside of the building, but they won't realise just how big it is until they get inside. It brings all sorts of services under one roof and that can only be good for the whole of north Hull."
Jo Barnes, chief executive of Citycare, said: "The Orchard Centre is the final building to be completed in the first phase of the LIFT programme and we are now well on with the second phase, with health centres in Kingswood and Bilton Grange opening their doors in the last month.
"Citycare has developed £21m worth of LIFT buildings in 2009 and next year is set to be busy as well, with our £15m Wilberforce Health Centre being developed in Albion Square, in the city centre."
Kath Lavery, chair of NHS Hull, added: "It is brilliant to see this iconic new building finally opening its doors to the public.
"With so many different services under one roof, the Orchard Centre really captures the spirit of partnership working and, perhaps more importantly, has already become an important part of the local community. Residents feel rightly proud of their facility, and we at NHS Hull are equally proud to be involved with its development. We hope that residents appreciate the choice of services and the convenience it now offers them."
Hull City Council's portfolio holder for customer and neighbourhood services Councillor Mike Ross said: "The move of our customer service centre to the Orchard Centre means that residents can now get to many essential services all under one roof.
"To be able to access health and council services saves on travelling for different appointments and services people need from GP appointments to paying council bills or applying for benefits can be done in one trip. It is a sign both of the good working relationship we have with the health service and of the improvements that will take place in the Northern area over the years to come.
"The new centre will have a payment machine to pay by cash, debit or credit card as well as free internet access. The Northern Area team also plans to relocate to the new centre to work with other partners to address the neighbourhood's priorities."
The Orchard Centre houses all of the following:
Café and community hall
Dental training suite
Community dental unit
Dr Blow's practice (relocating from the health centre in Ellerburn Avenue)
Haxby Group - a new GP practice
A community dental service
Treatment room services
Baby massage and child development, plus mother and toddler groups
Stop smoking clinics
Physiotherapy, occupational, speech and reminiscence therapies
Family planning and community midwifery clinics
Base for district nursing, school nursing and health visitors
Hull City Council's Orchard Park Customer Service Centre
Learning disability day services Hull City Council
Base for Hull City Council's Area Coordination Team
Local Policing Team
For further information please contact Kelly Todd at Mercury on 07967 150 229 or (01482) 869553