A dental surgery in Stevenage has resubmitted plans to expand its premises, saying it is vital to "preserve its current capacity" of patients.

Planning permission for a two-storey rear extension at Shephall Dental Surgery in Shephall Way, Stevenage, to allow an increase in consulting rooms from four to six, was refused earlier this month by Stevenage Borough Council. 

The council said the applicant had failed "to demonstrate that adequate provision for car parking can be provided on site" and had also "failed to demonstrate that the enlargement and modernisation of the premises is justified".

The application only included provision for one parking space, which the council says is a deficit of 30 spaces.


The planning application has been resubmitted to the council, this time with a parking survey showing vacant parking spaces close to the surgery at various times over a five-day period.

It says: "There is always plenty of parking at either the local shops or on Shephall Way, not to mention parking on residential streets. There are also two car parks at The Hyde shops, which is only an eight-minute walk from the surgery, and another car park at Peartree Park, which is a seven-minute walk. The surgery is also served by buses."

In terms of justification for the expansion of the premises, Dr Sabina Wadhwani, who has worked at the surgery since 2004, has submitted a supporting letter with the planning application.

In it, she says: "The UK is currently facing a crisis in NHS dentistry. According to the British Dental Association, since 2020 approximately 3,500 dentists have left the NHS to pursue private practice.

"Since July 2022, we have experienced the departure of three highly experienced dentists, each with between seven and 25 years of experience."


She said attracting experienced dentists to an NHS practice "has become near impossible", so three recently qualified dentists have been employed. 

"The output and efficiency of newly qualified dentists are typically only 25 per cent of what a highly experienced dentist can provide," Dr Wadhwani explained. "Consequently, to maintain our existing capacity, we urgently need to recruit an additional two full-time dentists."

She said that, as the proposed expansion is "primarily aimed at preserving current capacity", then "any significant changes in parking demands" are not anticipated.