Councillors are to be told that NWLDC is holding £1.3M of unspent health contributions and that £246,901.28 of this is due to be returned to developers with interest due to NHS England failing to spend it.
As a Planning Authority NWLDC has a “duty to co-operate” across local government boundaries and with other public sector bodies to ensure that communities get the infrastructure they need. Developers are asked to contribute towards houses, schools and health services.
When a developer proposed building 90 houses in Blackfordby, a village straddling North West Leicestershire and South Derbyshire CCGs, NHS England told local Planners the developer would need to provide health funding of £551 per dwelling. That is, in theory, nearly £50,000 coming for much needed premises improvements in primary care.
When the plans came to the Planning Committee, elected ward member Cllr Sue McKendrick pointed out to fellow Councillors that NHSE had subsequently decided not to ask the developer for any money at all.
Councillor Russell Johnson reported ‘According to publicly available planning documents, officers at North West Leicestershire District Council asked NHS England to decide whether the £49,590 should be spent in South Derbyshire, North West Leicestershire, or both. Unable to come to a decision NHSE told planners they were “unable to give a definitive answer” and, with no specific project or scheme, any request would not satisfy the legal tests and no claim was to be made.’
Councillor and GP Dr Terri Eynon comments, ‘NHS England blamed their own lack of a “strategic, robust view and model” for this situation. In a fragmented public sector it is increasingly difficult for CCGs to claim the funds GPs need to service new residents. This failure to claim and spend developer contributions undermines any attempt to have a robust Local Plan for health infrastructure’.
Officers will be providing Councillors with an update on their meetings with NHS England and the Local Medical Committee in public at this Wednesday’s Policy Development Committee