Portsmouth City Council left in the dark after Tipner coronavirus testing site removed overnight without warning

A COUNCIL has been left in the dark after a coronavirus testing site was removed overnight without warning.

By Millie Salkeld
Thursday, 24th September 2020, 8:02 pm
Updated Friday, 25th September 2020, 9:53 am

The Covid-19 drive-through testing site at Tipner West, off the M275, was due to be closed on October 5 so it could be converted back to a lorry park in preparation for Brexit but the site was removed last night.

According to the GMB Union, key workers turned up on Thursday morning for tests to find the site empty.

Deputy Leader of the Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Steve Pitt told The News that the council were not informed by the Department of Health about the early move.

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Cllr Pitt said: ‘The council was not informed that the site was going to be moved and we are making enquiries.

‘We found out because someone drove past the site today and noticed it was gone.

Drone pictures of the Covid-19 testing facility in Tipner West, Portsmouth. Picture: Solent Sky Services

‘We were given assurances that the site would remain until October 5 at 8pm.

‘Our understanding was that the site in Southampton would open the week before October 5 and there would be an overlap before Tipner was closed.’

Adrian Baker, GMB Regional Organiser, said: ‘Despite government claims they want to work with local authorities to tackle the Covid pandemic, they failed to inform the local authority this testing site was being removed.

‘Test and trace has become trace the test. This dereliction of duty is quite incredible.

‘With local services structured to direct the public to that site until October 5, this shows a clear breakdown in any pretence of joined up ‘working together’.

‘What are the public and workers supposed to do if the Government doesn’t even know how long a testing site will be available for?’

The walk-through testing site in the car park of the University of Portsmouth’s Eldon building is set to remain according Cllr Pitt.

The News approached the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.

The testing site at Tipner opened back in April.

It has faced a number of issues including people being initially given the wrong postcode for the centre and delays to test results.

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