Witham St Hughs development health funds approved despite concerns over use

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Councillors approved £500,000 health contributions for 1,100 houses and 150 retirement homes in Witham St Hughs after concern about no healthcare facility in the village.

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.

Members of the committee raised concern about the lack of a healthcare facility, but were recommended to the approve the contributions.

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.

The health contributions which will be included in the section 106 agreement total at £531,250 for the development.

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

The strategy revealed 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.

Council leader, Richard Wright, held meetings with Lincolnshire West CCG regarding health contributions.

He said: “I think it’s fair to say that we had a frank discussion.

“Having listened to the information, it became clear that the worst we could do is insist on a surgery in Witham St Hughs.

“It would not be sustainable.”

Sarah Jane-Mills, Chief Operating Officer at Lincolnshire West CCG, said that a surgery would be costly.

“The development of a health facility would incur costs,” she said.

“I’m afraid that we are in a situation where we have to prioritise the delivery of services.

“In an ideal world, I would love to deliver that type of service.”