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

GP-provision planning guidance

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.