Alton Dental Practice has submitted expansion plans in response to the growing demand for NHS dentistry.

The proposed expansion seeks permission to change the use of 56 and 56A Anstey Road from residential to commercial, business and service.

The plans, if approved by East Hampshire District Council, would incorporate the properties into the existing dental practice next door at 54 Anstey Road.

Planning documents state: ‘The need for the proposal has come from the shortfall of NHS dentistry provision in Alton and the surrounding area for patients who are unable to afford private dental care.

“Alton Dental has been unable to take on any new NHS patients for the past seven years. Correspondence can be provided by the dental practice to confirm the above statement.

“The additional space will also enable the practice to maximise the latest dental technology, such as digital scanners, to improve patient care.

“The proposal will also allow the practice to recruit a trainee dentist to help meet NHS dentistry need. To this end, Alton Dental has been allocated an additional dentist from NHS England to start from September 2023 but currently the practice does not have adequate space to accommodate them in the current practice setting.

“The additional surgery (consultant room) would enable the practice to provide an additional 1,875 units of dental activity per year, which would be an immense help to the local community.”

The current dental practice comprises five consulting rooms, or surgeries. The proposed scheme aims to add an additional surgery, increasing the surgery capacity from five to six.

National data reveals that across the UK, a staggering 11 million people are currently waiting for an NHS dentist, and a substantial 90 per cent of dental practices nationwide are no longer accepting new patients.