Homes boom sparks hospital worries

By Chris Smith Friday 04 April 2014 Updated: 04/04 22:48

HOUSING developers have been told to cough up £33 million to help fund the expansion of Stratford and Warwick hospitals.

The demand from the South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust was revealed this week as bosses objected to controversial proposals for 80 homes in Ettington.

In a 20-page document they raised serious concerns about the pressure the two were facing from the huge number of houses set to be built across south Warwickshire over the next 15 years with the population predicted to grow by as many as 40,000.

They said it the rising population had led to serious concerns about its ability to provide the necessary level of care was not acceptable for the trust itself and the NHS to be expected to foot the bill to expand, and criticised developers for putting profits before social responsibility.

And they set out demands for them to make significant contributions to healthcare: £16million towards the cost of two new ward blocks at Warwick and £17million to help pay for the new £40million Stratford Hospital.

That amounts to £1,678 per new house built over the lifetime of building targets drawn up by both district councils that set out plans for almost 25,000 homes.

A spokeswoman for the trust said the document had been submitted for the first time as part of the consultation into the Ettington proposals and would be the response to all major housing projects in the future.

Jayne Blacklay, director of development added: "The proposed new property developments within the local community will inevitably impact on public services.

"Therefore we feel as a health care provider we have a responsibility to be involved in the process and ensure that population growth will not negatively affect the standard of care we can provide to patients, and if demand for our services is set to increase we are able to meet this demand."

Charles Church's plans for land off Rogers Lane in Ettington - increasing the number of houses by 20 per cent - are already facing huge opposition from residents.

And in direct response to those plans, Mel Duffy, the hospital trust's deputy director of business development, said a contribution from the company of £134,240 would be required towards healthcare provision.

"It is not possible for us to generate sufficient income to cover the cost of developing the additional capacity required to meet the healthcare needs of this new residential development.

"We believe it is only right that a developer who is profiting from the building of additional housing should make some payment towards mitigating the harmful impact of the development.

"However our most recent experience has evidenced developers do not share a social responsibility towards the sustainable safety of local populations and we must therefore object to new developments which will increase healthcare requirements."

Stratford council is expected to make a decision on the development next month.

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