Central Wellbeing's Tracey Purnell has plans to breathe new life into the heritage-listed Wagga home

A Wagga doctor is the latest person to turn a heritage home into a business, hoping to make patients more comfortable while they wait.

General practitioner Tracey Purnell plans to dust of her interior design diploma and breathe fresh life into the old house at the corner of Trail and Kincaid streets as her practice grows.

“We’ve been quite successful since we opened (Central Wellbeing) last August – basically fully booked from the start – so we need more space,” Dr Purnell said. 

I love old buildings, it’s one of the things that attracted me to Wagga and when I saw this house for sale it ticked all the boxes.

Doctor Tracey Purnell

Turning old homes into new offices is hardly a new concept, with Peter, Best and Trail streets full of business premises that once housed families. Wagga builder Wayne Carter said it was easy to see why businesses would want to move out of the main street, with plenty of room and parking on offer.

“I like the idea, it saves these areas from becoming ghost towns as people move to new areas,” Mr Carter said. “There’s lots of activity at the end of town now and as they say ‘build it and they will come’. It obviously makes sense financially too if it’s so popular, but heritage renovations can be a real conundrum.”

Being a fan of heritage buildings, Dr Purnell said she wanted to show off the building’s amazing history.

“Nothing will change outside, inside will stay pretty much the same, particularly the old stained glass windows,” Dr Purnell said. “We’ll have the main entrance at the back off the laneway and I want to work out how we can get our logo in stained glass to complement those existing features. I really love what they’ve done with the Houston apartments across the road and with fresh landscaping it will look quite nice, not like an ugly ‘medical centre’.”

Moving the entrance to the rear of the building also allowed for better disabled access and while the health benefits of a homely waiting room were questionable, Dr Purnell said anything that helped make patients feel comfortable at a time that could be scary was a good thing.

“I want it to look like a stylish friend’s house, not a drab waiting room,” she said.

Council has yet to grant planning approval.

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