RESIDENTS of Cockermouth could benefit from improved dental facilities and shorter waiting lists for an appointment if the borough council gives plans the greenlight.

Allerdale Borough Council has received an application for planning permission from Amanda Strong of Pooley Bridge to extend the first floor of St Helens Dental Practice on Market Place, Cockermouth.

The extension will involve creating an additional consultation room with a waiting area and extending floor space.

Explaining their plans to the council in a Heritage, Design and Access Statement, the applicant said: “The reason for this proposal seeks to improve the existing facilities.

“An additional consultation room will be added to allow additional capacity for the practice, which is hoped will help combat the ever-growing waiting lists for NHS Dentists.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused huge disruption to dentistry locally and nationally.

Data from NHS Digital revealed in September that 104,000 dental treatments were given to NHS patients in Cumbria between June 2020 and March 2021 – a 68 per cent drop from 323,000 in the same period the previous year.

The proposal at St Helens Dental Practice involves constructing a first floor rear extension and the applicant has said alterations to the interior will be minimal.

Plans will also provide a practical solution to issues with leaking.

The statement said: “The existing ground floor extends beyond the first floor resulting in the roof of the ground floor being a patio, water is now leaking into the ground floor.

“The proposed extension will cover over this area and prevent water ingress.”

St Helen’s Dental Practice is located in a conservation area but the applicant has said care will be taken to avoid any significant change, hence developments are being made to the rear of the building.

They said that all materials “will be matching, with detailing reflected from the existing property to produce an extension that accords with Allerdale Local Plan policy.”

A site inspection has found no evidence of protected species or cavities that may attract them in the existing building.

The public can view and comment on all applications submitted to the borough council for approval.

Councillors on the planning panel will take the public’s comments of support or objection into account when they decide whether to give plans the greenlight.