Third coronavirus testing centre planned for Redbridge

Redbridge Council plans to open a third permanent Covid testing centre right next to Woodford Green station, a councillor has revealed.

At a meeting of the health scrutiny committee on Thursday October 1, Cllr Suzanne Nolan (Con, South Woodford) said a venue had been “identified” on Charteris Road.

Redbridge’s second permanent test centre opened on Thursday, almost three weeks after the council leader called on the Government to increase the borough’s testing capacity.

The rate of infection in Redbridge has quadrupled in the course of just one month and Cllr Nolan pointed out that the west of the borough has “a lot of care homes”.

Redbridge’s director of public health Gladys Xavier told the committee she has asked Deloittes, a private contractor delivering testing centres, to “come and do a survey” of the site.

She added: “It looks promising. There are issues but we will work through that.”

The borough’s second test centre in Gants Hill Library car park is open today from 10am to 5pm as a “pilot” and will open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week from tomorrow (October 3).

It has the capacity to carry out 288 tests a day, although it is understood that the capacity of labs to process Covid tests has limited access in recent weeks.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said previously that he was “pleased” by the new centre but added the borough still has “a long way to go”.

He said: “We are asking for a third permanent testing centre around Wanstead and Woodford, and another mobile testing unit – so no matter where you live in Redbridge, there is always an accessible test centre nearby.

“Earlier this month, we saw Redbridge residents being turned away from testing centres because the Government was not adequately prepared. That can never happen again.”

Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter