The discovery of asbestos significantly delayed the reopening of a village's sole medical provider.

In late 2017 the North Weald branch of the Limes Medical Centre in Epping was closed for refurbishment work.

The Limes Partnership had forked out 33 per cent of the cost and NHS England the remainder to completely overhaul and modernise the Wheelers Farm Gardens site.

Soon after closing the first of a string of set backs occurred when NHS England requested the approved plans be amended.

A contractor was then appointed who quickly discovered asbestos in the old building.

Although a reopening date was never set at the beginning of the project, the "complex" work required to clear the asbestos caused significant delays.

In December, after a year of having no medical provision in their village, the people of North Weald will have a new surgery.

Debbie Bodhanya, managing partner at the Limes Medical Centre, said: “We are very keen to have our site in North Weald open.

"We are grateful to NHS England and the CCG for their support during what has been a small, but complex process and project.

"We also appreciate the support that we have received from the North Weald Council and our patients."

While the reopening of the branch will likely please villagers, Ms Bodhanya and her Limes Medical Centre colleagues were hoping for more.

Over the last 18 years they have been pushing for a full medical centre in North Weald, but the plans have never come to fruition.

She added: "What is needed in North Weald is a new medical centre to cope with the population expansion, however, we have done our best to invest and maximise the space at Wheelers Farm Gardens so we can continue to deliver a high quality service to patients."