Aldershot will get its new health centre early in 2004.

In July councillors are being asked to approve plans for Britain's largest primary healthcare centre on Hospital Hill - not far from the defunct Cambridge Military Hospital.

Local developer Wilky Property Holdings plc has applied to build the 104,700 sq ft Aldershot Centre for Health.

If, as is highly likely, Rushmoor's planners give the go-ahead for the £19 million project, work will start this year for completion early in 2004. Once the green light is given work could start almost immediately-this summer, if all parties agree.

"This is a landmark scheme with first class NHS facilities at a value for money price for taxpayers," said Wilky's Ian Webb.

"The development is privately funded. What's more, the NHS and therefore the taxpayer will pay 20 percent below comparable market rents - delivering good value for money." Serving a population of over 250,000, the centre at Hospital Hill will house:

l Three GP partnerships, totalling 20 doctors

l The newly-formed Blackwater & Hart Primary Care Trust (replacing the former Surrey and Hampshire Borders Health Trust)

l Frimley Park Trust

l Outpatients from Frimley Park Hospital.

There is also room for the town's long awaited minor injuries unit, plus dentists, chiropodists, counselling services and specialist clinics.

In a unique collaboration with the Ministry of Defence, the Army will lease part of the centre, enabling outdated facilities in the garrison to close. The sharing of the centre and its facilities by the NHS and Army is looked on as a benefit to soldiers and their dependants. The three storey building on a wooded hilltop close to the town centre will have a central atrium and lifts to the upper floors. It will include a range of complementary services, such as:

l Pharmacy, chemists and opticians

l Sports injury clinic and health and fitness club

l Convenience store, health food shop and coffee shop.