Council advised to approve 1,100 homes despite lack of Witham St Hughs health facilities

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Councillors will return to plans for 1,100 houses and 150 retirement homes in Witham St Hughs after high level discussions were held with the NHS about how it would use the developer’s proposed health contributions.

North Kesteven District Council’s Planning Committee deferred making a decision on the development in February 2018 after councillors raised concerns about the NHS planning to spend the applicant’s money on health services in North Hykeham rather than in the village.

The Strawson Holdings Ltd development on land east of Camp Road and north of Hannah Crescent was unanimously approved back in 2016.

Since the initial approval, discussions have been held over the financial contributions the developers should make to the scheme.

In meetings held following the deferral in February 2018, Lincolnshire West CCG has released its strategy for Witham St Hughs, in which it claims a small GP surgery in the village would be unviable and unattractive to any potential provider.

The strategy reveals that the NHS would use the applicant’s money to create a community care hub at the Richmond Medical Centre in North Hykeham.

A smaller proportion of the money would be used to reconfigure Bassingham Surgery to provide additional clinical consultation rooms, and also for the CCG to develop proactive community services with partners.

Despite councillors’ vocal concerns, they have been given a recommendation to approve the development with no healthcare facility in Witham St Hughs.

In a report to councillors, Principal Planning Officer Phil Eley said: “It is acknowledged that the strategy will not meet the aspirations expressed by members in support of the parish council and the local community for a purpose-built healthcare facility within the village.

“However, whilst officers would continue to acknowledge that the lack of an ‘on-site’ health facility within the village as envisaged in the original concept for the new settlement is regrettable, and that concerns raised in relation to the accessibility of the existing surgeries at Bassingham and North Hykeham are valid and does weigh against the overall sustainability merits of the settlement, the strategy of the CCG is clear in its reasoning why a new health facility in the village could not be sustained.”

A full list of recommendations for the development is below:

  • Minimum 16.7% on-site affordable housing
  • A Community Infrastructure Levy of approximately £2,067,953
  • Transfer of land to Lincolnshire County Council for extension to Witham St Hughs Academy
  • £2,480,817 towards the provision of 250 primary school places at the academy
  • Transfer of land to the Witham St Hughs Parish Council to be used as public playing fields in lieu of the land required for the extension of the academy
  • £570,000 for sustaining existing bus services serving Witham St Hughs
  • £531,250 for additional healthcare services through the expansion of the Richmond Medical Practice in North Hykeham or alternative schemes
  • Minimum of £450,000 for provision, implementation and maintenance of on-site recreational public open space and recreation provision
  • £360,000 per hectare for off-site recreation and community facilities
  • Minimum of £600,000 for additional or enhanced community facilities within Witham St Hughs, which could include the construction of an enhanced community centre/village hall
  • Promotion of the extra care/retirement element of the development
  • “Reasonable endeavours” to use local people, local businesses and to source materials locally in the construction and operation of the development