New housing developments are expected to contribute funds to the community to pay for the impact on roads, schools and health services. Although NWLDC collects the money, it is up to the NHS to spend it. Finding £1.3M sitting in the bank unspent, District Councillor Russell Johnson discovered that £247k was at risk of being returned to developers due to the s106 agreement now being time-expired.
Last autumn, blaming a lack of “robust processes”, NHS England had also failed to put in a claim for a development in Cllr Sue McKendrick’s ward, Blackfordby.
Following discussions with District and County Councillor Dr Terri Eynon, officers of North West Leicestershire District Council met with NHS England to try to resolve the problem. Councillors at NWLDC Policy Development Group on 6th January were told that, following this meeting, new processes were to be put in place.
The responsibility for spending developer contributions for healthcare will now fall to a named officer at West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. Councillors on the Policy Development Group were also told that Long Lane Surgery is looking to receive £257k of developer contributions to help with their surgery extension. This will allow town centre GP Dr Rawat to relocate from his antiquated premises in Belvoir Road.
This good news story is already under threat. With days to go before their new-build is agreed, Long Lane Surgery have been told that £51k of the promised funds can no longer be relied upon. This pot of money was paid into the Council by Barrett Homes to fund the healthcare needs of new residents on the former Stephenson College site off Bridge Road Coalville. The agreement time-expired on the 7th January, the day after the Council’s Policy Development Group met. Without an agreed deed of variation, Barrett Homes will be able to claim the money back.
Dr Terri Eynon, County Councillor for Coalville is concerned. “The efforts put in by Council officers to resolve this problem are already being undermined. The plans to extend Long Lane Surgery were agreed many months ago. The residents of Coalville need high quality health care and this surgery extension cannot be allowed to fail. I have asked officers to meet with Barrett Homes as a matter of urgency to ask their permission to keep this money and invest it in healthcare as originally intended.”