Discussions ongoing over future of coronavirus testing facility at former Montem Leisure Centre

SLOUGH 132800-8

A coronavirus testing facility at the former Montem Leisure Centre could be relocated if plans for the site’s redevelopment are approved.

Over the past six months residents have been able to get tested for COVID-19 at the site with results confirmed by a laboratory.

But the agreement between Slough Borough Council and the Department for Health and Social Care to use the venue is due to expire in March.

A planning application for more than 200 homes on the site is due to be discussed by the council’s planning committee this evening.

Council leader James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) asked the council’s outbreak engagement board about the facility’s future during a meeting last night.

He said: “My understanding is the Montem site is contracted to be there with us until early March.

“I was just curious that now that we’re promoting community testing to a much greater degree, the move to vaccinations and the sense that the lateral flow tests gives you the speedy answer, how do we see that testing programme relating to the existing tests that have been around?”

The council leader added the former Thames Valley University site near the town centre has been suggested as a possible site for relocation.

Tessa Lindfield, strategic director for Public Health Berkshire, said the borough will still need a large scale coronavirus testing site beyond March.

She added discussions are underway whether PCR tests, confirmed by a laboratory, could be carried out at sites where lateral flow tests are taking place.

A new lateral flow testing centre was due to launch at The Centre, Farnham Road, today which will allow people to get tested for the virus if they don’t have symptoms.

Further lateral flow testing centres are planned across the borough.

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