WORK has begun on a £1.5 million extension and refurbishment project at a Tiverton surgery as it bids to take on a larger role in the community.
The Grade II-listed Clare House GP medical practice looks after more than 10,000 patients a year.
It is now set get a 4,000 sq ft extension enabling doctors to provide treatment in a health centre.
The additional space will comprise 10 consulting rooms, two treatment rooms and a minor operations room.
Some archaeological works were undertaken at the site before work started because of the historical significance of the area. The land in Newport Street was once the site of a religious premises which was destroyed around the time of the siege of Tiverton Castle during the Civil War.
Linda Bent, business manager at Clare House, said: "We have needed to extend the surgery premises for quite some time, so we are thrilled to see work beginning and are looking forward to seeing it take shape over the coming months.
"The new extension and refurbishment programme will provide modern purpose-built facilities for the continuing standard of care that patients of Clare House regard so highly."
The work, to be carried out by Barnstaple-based contractor Morgan Sindall, and project managed by Exeter-based construction consultant Haldons, is due to be completed by the summer.
Chris Spear, area director for Morgan Sindall, said: "Serving so many people in the community, Clare House is a vital facility in Tiverton and the surrounding area.
"Enlarging this surgery will allow the practice to continue providing its many patients with the care they need.
"The Morgan Sindall team has a wealth of experience in the medical sector and is pleased to be able to use these skills on this important project."
Mark Coton, director for Haldons, said: "The surgery is surrounded by other listed buildings so the architect has ensured the design of the extension is sympathetic to the historic surroundings as well as the original house.
"We are all pleased to be finally starting work on this project."
Clare House was built in 1816 on the site of Clare Parsonage and was first used a as medical practice in 1932 with two partners in residence.
It has around 40 staff, eight partners and three associate GPs and the surgery is also involved in medical training.