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The waiting game

GPs lodge formal objection to housing as developer plans 300 new homes

GPs at a practice in Norfolk have formally objected to plans to build new homes in the area, after a developer submitted a bid to increase the number of houses to the proposed site.

Housing developer David Wilson Homes had plans approved in 2017 to build 259 homes at a site off Holt Road in Horsford.

It has now re-submitted its application to Broadland District Council, proposing to build 304 houses at the site - an increase of 17%.

But GPs at Drayton Medical Practice, located near the proposed site, have objected to the plans, saying it will place extra pressure on its three branch surgeries – Drayton Surgery, St Faiths Surgery, and Horsford Medical Centre.

The GP practice, which serves 18,000 patients, has warned the council the development will 'place an increasing strain on resources,' which will 'negatively impact on the services provided to existing and new patients'.

Council planning officers said NHS England and health providers are resonsible for managing the impact on GPs.

Partners at Drayton Medical Practice, an 18,000-patient practice, said in a letter to the council that the impact of the housing development, along with other developments in the area, is ‘considerable’.

The letter said the development will also place demand on car parking spaces at all three branch surgeries, which cannot 'feasibly' accommodate new parking spaces.

It said: 'The council will be all too aware of the pressures of general practice at the moment and 304 extra dwellings in Horsford, along with other previously approved developments will place an increasing strain on resources, particularly at our Horsford Surgery, which will negatively impact on the services provided to existing and new patients.

‘Particular note should be paid to the demand these extra developments are having on car parking, not just at Horsford but also our Drayton and St Faiths surgeries.

'There is very little we can feasibly do to accommodate any new parking arrangements.'

It added: 'On this basis, we object to this planning application and trust that this objection will be considered by the committee.'

Local residents have also expressed concerns about the future capacity of the local schools and GP surgeries and councillor Lisa Starling also highlighted the extra strain on GP services, according to council papers.

But in the papers, due to be discussed tomorrow at a meeting where a decision will be made, council planning officers said the design proposed by developers provides ‘adequate’ parking for residents and sufficient open space.

Planning officers said it is for NHS England to manage the impact of new houses on health services.

The meeting papers said: 'The responsibility for health provision remains with the health providers, primarily with NHS England who provide funding for doctors based on the population /number of patients in the area. 

'The residents in new developments will contribute to this national funding through taxes in the same way as existing residents.'

GPs in other regions have also objected to housing developments, pointing to the ongoing staffing crisis in general practice and the inabilty to recruit in particular regions.

Another housing development plan in Scotland was recently given the go-ahead, despite warnings from GP leaders and councillors that GPs wouldn't be able to handle new patients.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Cobblers

    Save your breath lads (and ladies). After suitable emoluments have exchanged hands and the odd funny handshake it'll get passed.

    They will talk the talk only. HMG have set stringent housing targets which they have to meet.

    All you can do is close lists or RLE.

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  • There is a community incentive levy - but it does not specifically help the local practice. NHS England collect and administer the money on a regional level - perhaps through the CCG. They will of course elect to invest that money in the practices in the 'region' that need investment the most. I don't directly have a problem with that.

    But that still means that if the development is near a surgery that is not in sire need of renovation or expansion - then the residents/ patients need to be 100% aware that the service will get worse as a result of the development. And planners need to be honest with residents if they decide that is an acceptable price for the other residents to pay.

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  • ‘Cart before the horse’ discussion.
    It is commercially rewarding to build these new homes but it is not commercially practical to provide the GP services that the inhabitants will require. New homes are required, so the focus should be on the latter problem. Easy peasy. Improve T@C for GPs (can start with aborting the unevidence based and expensive appraisal system).

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  • What we should really be saying is “how is our health system so stupid that we are fighting NOT to have more patients under our care?”

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