CIVIC chiefs say they are expecting work on a new Winchester city centre GP surgery to get under way in the next 16 months.

Plans have already been approved which would see the doctors at St Clements surgery moving the 300 yards to a new, purpose-built facility on the Upper Brook Street car park, at the junction with Friarsgate.

However, the scheme has hit a number of stumbling blocks in recent years, which threw the move into doubt.

Now, a new report which went before the overview and scrutiny committee on Monday has revealed "progress is being made" in negotiations with the doctors.

As previously reported, St Clements surgery, which has around 16,000 patients, had been negotiating with the city council to relocate to the site by May 2019, after a previous forecast of summer 2017 was missed.

But council documents concerning a planning application for the current building revealed a rift between the two parties.

In a report that went before Winchester City Council's planning committee this summer, the council’s head of estates Kevin Warren said: “Despite discussions between the council and the doctors over a number of years, it is now looking unlikely that an agreement will be reached.”

It came as the planning committee refused to allow office use at the Tanner Street practice, owned by rebel city councillor Kim Gottlieb. An appeal against the decision is currently being considered.

According to the overview and scrutiny report, £3.8million is forecast to be spent on the new surgery. It was also revealed the plans for a new car park at The Dean in Alresford have been delayed while negotiations continue with developers.

It also shows the city council now feels it is “unlikely” plans to generate £500,000 through an investment fund, known as the Strategic Asset Purchase Scheme (SAPS), by the end of March 2019 will be met, with returns now estimated to be less than half that figure, at £225,000.