Permanent coronavirus testing centre to open in Woodford Green
A third permanent Covid-19 testing centre for Redbridge is set to open in Woodford Green this week.
The new centre - located at Charteris Car Park - will open for a reduced hours pilot on Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 between 10am and 5pm.
From Sunday, October 25, the site will be operating at full capacity between 8am and 8pm.
Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “Last month, we announced that we had a second testing centre in the borough but I was adamant that we needed more.
“So now, I am pleased to announce that we now have a third permanent testing site in the west of the borough.”
Cllr Athwal believes this new facility will be vital in helping to curb infection rates in the Redbridge, which are currently the highest in London.
He said: “We need to ensure our residents can get tested to help stop the spread. We want every resident in the borough to be able to access a testing centre nearby, so I am pleased that we have made this happen.”
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He did warn, however, that having enough testing centres is only half the battle, saying: “We can’t ignore the fact that despite doing everything we can to secure additional testing for the borough, we are in desperate need of more lab testing capacity to process test results quickly, and this is something we will continue to raise with government as a priority.”
Council deputy leader Cllr Kam Rai reiterated the importance of this third site as a facility which will serve residents in the west of the borough, adding: “We’ve been clear with the government that no matter the cost to the council, testing must be accessible across Redbridge so local people are never far away from a testing centre, should they need one.”
It was previously alleged that proposals for this site would be blocked by Redbridge Conservatives leader, Cllr Linda Huggett, amid traffic concerns in her ward.
But Cllr Huggett, who represents Monkhams, strenuously denied this, stating that she asked “reasonable questions about how the council plans to manage residents’ concerns about traffic and parking”.
Once satisfied that “highway officers will be monitoring traffic flows and taking action where needed”, Cllr Huggett said the new facility has the full support of herself and the Conservative group.
All testing facilities in Redbridge can be found at redbridge.gov.uk/gettested.