A LONG-RUNNING campaign by villagers to keep their family doctor will pay off next week.
Hundreds of residents at Wrenbury backed Dr Graham Davenport when he said he would have to build a larger surgery or quit the village he had served for 20 years.
On Tuesday his application to build a surgery on part of the village recreation ground is likely to get the go-ahead at a meeting of Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council's development control panel.
There was initial opposition to the plan from some villagers who said it was wrong to use part of the recreation ground for building. But it is now being recommended for approval by the council's planning officer Paul Ancell.
Because the land is owned by the Wrenbury Recreation Ground Trust, they had to have the sale of the plot sanctioned by people living in Wrenbury and the surrounding parishes.
And more than 700 people turned up at a public meeting in October last year backing the plan - only four people voting against.
Dr Davenport told the Chronicle it would have been impossible for him to carry on in his cramped village green surgery.
He said: 'The possibility of the move has dragged on for several months, with opposition from some quarters, and it is true to say that if the plan had been turned down I would have to have quit the village.
'The present surgery is far too small for me to conduct the practice in a properly efficient way. There have been times when we had to work in corridors or wait for one person to vacate a room before someone else could go in.
'We have more than 2,000 patients and it has been a struggle to care for them properly in such cramped conditions.
'The new place will be three times as big, and will enable me to take on more staff so everyone should benefit.'
Dr Davenport said he had been overwhelmed by the public display of support. He said: 'I have been truly overwhelmed and am most grateful. At last we may soon be able to move forward.'
As a decision on the plan became imminent villagers again showed their support, more than 400 of them signing a petition backing the new surgery.
Villager John Pound, who has backed the campaign from day one said: 'It seems we are nearly there. Fingers crossed nothing can now go wrong.
'It would have been a tragedy if such a popular doctor had been forced to leave the village.'
Mrs Cheryl Bebbington, chairman of the Recreation Trust said the district valuer had put a price of £45,000 on the sale of the land, which would enable the trust to spend cash to upgrade the children's play equipment.