Fears NHS could lose funds to improve health facilities

Councillor Ricky Bower said it was wrong that the developer could avoid paying to improve health facilities
Councillor Ricky Bower said it was wrong that the developer could avoid paying to improve health facilities

The NHS was criticised after councillors raised fears new homes could be built without developers contributing to improved health facilities.

Health bosses failed to advise Arun District Council how much it required to mitigate the building of 18 homes, in Dappers Lane, Angmering, ahead of last Wednesday’s development control committee meeting.

Councillors were told that contributions had already been agreed for fire, education and library services – but the NHS had yet to reply to Arun’s consultation.

The NHS has defended its position, noting it still had time to reply before the signing of a legal agreement.

“What can we do as an authority to bring the NHS to the table to raise these issues,” said councillor Paul Wells.

“We’ve got to do more on this. It is not just today – but there has been previous applications where the NHS haven’t responded.”

Council planners vowed to chase the NHS before the legal agreement was signed.

Councillor Ricky Bower, cabinet member for planning and infrastructure, said it was ‘wrong’ that the developer may not have to contribute towards healthcare.

Planning officer Juan Baeza said: “We are very conscious of that and it will generate extra demands on the NHS. Unfortunately, following two or three requests for feedback, nothing has yet come back.”

Coastal West Sussex Clinicial Commissioning Group is responsible for healthcare provision across Arun district.

A spokesman said: “We have not missed the deadline for comments relating to this particular application. The deadline is April 18 and comments will be with the council in good time.

“We are working hard locally with all our partners, particularly our local councils, to ensure that the health needs of our population are met now and in the future.”

The spokesman said the CCG understood ‘local frustrations’ and had committed to working closely with the council.

On the delays, she said: “Sometimes things do not move as quickly as we would like, however we are committed to working with all our partners to ensure we provide high quality, affordable health care to the people we serve.”