Healthcare plans for a major new development near Harlow are “not acceptable”, according to the NHS.

Health / Wed 1st Mar 2023 at 08:15am

Healthcare plans for a major new development near Harlow are “not acceptable”, according to the NHS.

Existing residents of Hunsdon, Gilston and Eastwick have warned East Herts District Council they fear plans for new health services in the area will put lives at risk.

The planning committee at East Herts District Council greenlit the plans on Tuesday, February 28, as part of an 8,500-home scheme at Gilston – part of the larger Harlow and Gilston Garden Town project.

A new healthcare facility which is “far more than a GP surgery” is included in the plans, and the NHS will have first “right of refusal” to the building.

But a draft list of legal agreements between the developer and the council shows the building would be constructed at the developer’s expense, then leased back to the NHS at a near-market rate.

“We find ourselves in an unfortunate position where no acute healthcare contribution is being offered or supported,” Sue Fogden, of the NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care Board, told the committee.

“East Herts District Council and the applicant have decided, without any consultation with the ICB, that serviced land will be provided, that the applicant will develop it and in return the ICB will pay market rent to recover the applicant’s costs.

“This is not acceptable to the ICB.”

Ms Fogden said the NHS needs “serviced land at nil value” and a financial contribution to take on the site.

She warned councillors’ decision to approve planning permission could prove “too little, too late” to secure the healthcare services which existing and new residents will need.

Anthony Bickmore of the Hunsdon, Eastwick and Gilston Neighbourhood Plan Group also spoke at the committee.

He said: “The NHS has made it clear to your officers and the applicants that it will not, for years, be able to staff and equip the health centre which the applicants have agreed to build in Gilston.

“Nothing scares the existing residents of our area more than the fact that lives will be lost and health care put at risk by this development and the lack of funding for medical care needed by new residents.”

East Herts District Council staff recommended that councillors grant planning permission.

“The on-site healthcare provision will cost nearly £15million and will deliver a centre which provides far more than a GP surgery,” their report reads.
It notes the NHS requested between £9.49m and £11.26m for acute care at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, and £2.07m for the East of England Ambulance Service.

“To address these various requests, the proposed strategy is to deliver a health centre in Village 1 that will cater for general practice requirements plus mental health care and community-based care,” it adds.

East Herts District Council sought legal advice on funding for acute care at Princess Alexandra.

“The funding of hospital and ambulance services is the remit of the NHS Hospital Trust and the UK government and is paid for through taxation by all citizens,” the report reads.

This means funding for hospitals falls outside the remit of planning permission rules.

According to the Harlow Gilston and Garden Town partnership – which incorporates the East Herts, Harlow and Epping Forest district councils, and Essex and Hertfordshire county councils – the development is an opportunity to “build sustainable communities”.

Cllr Linda Haysey (Con, Hertford Rural South), leader of East Herts District Council and a Garden Town Board voting member, said: “For many years, we have worked together as part of a five-council partnership to bring a vision to life for a new community at Harlow & Gilston that embraces and responds to the challenges of the future.

“The decision taken by councillors is a significant step towards ensuring our next generation can live and raise families of their own in East Herts.

“I understand residents will have concerns about the impact of development on this scale, but with that scale comes the investment needed to provide the new services and facilities that build sustainable communities.

“We can and have secured the necessary infrastructure to support growth – the schools, healthcare and transport our children and their families will rely on.”

Princess Alexandra Hospital is set to receive a new building as part of the government’s New Hospitals Programme.

According to the latest data, which covers December 2022, 9,595 patients were on a waiting list for a diagnostic test or procedure with Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust.

More than 550 of these patients waited 13 weeks or more for their diagnosis.

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10 Comments for Healthcare plans for a major new development near Harlow are “not acceptable”, according to the NHS.:

2023-03-01 09:02:12

The Conservative controlled East Herts, Epping, Herts, Essex and unfortunately Harlow Councils are too close to private property developers the Gilston Estate development hggt pfp and driven by Mad Max Shaps, Blustering Boris, Trussconomics to see that the plan will trash the Stort Valley and overload Harlow roads, flood defences and sewage systems and now we learn our hospital services. It's also noteworthy that neither the Head of the NHS or hggt or rail planners fail to note that the government is telling us the hospital is moving about 5 miles from the current site? Although I am not a fan of Mr Gove, he does have an occasional ability to cut through the illogical eg Rivers pollution: perhaps on an environmental and pollution basis someone should bring his attention to bare on this pending disaster: SOS. The East Herts planning meeting last night bar one Conservative who abstained, went along Party lines, the Conservatives waved through planning as they did with the Eastern (Raised Road Crossing) as if the decisions were predetermined: illegal.

Kim Oconnor
2023-03-01 09:28:56

Correct nosradamus. Heart breaking to know what destruction is going to happen.

Michael Hardware
2023-03-01 10:28:03

The NHS has known about this application for development for two years, so why do they come in at the last minute? This is a re-occurring problem with the NHS. The new Integrated Care Systems, replacing the CCGs, have a remit to work in partnership with local authorities and the voluntary sector with a focus more on health preventions. This means they need to be far more involved in placemaking and development planning, especially garden communities - not seen any evidence of this yet.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-01 11:43:35

Ms Fogden's comments are really damning of the developers and East Herts Council. Recent news that the developers would not be proving affordable housing in the numbers originally stated, indeed if any should have put a stop to this development. It is clear that this is all about greed not need.

2023-03-01 11:46:57

Who would have thought that George Orwell’s 1984 would eventually come true. These sort of developments are happening up and down the country and none of them seem to come with any extra infrastructure. This will end badly!

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-01 15:10:13

Should have typed providing not proving on my earlier post.

Neil WB
2023-03-01 16:05:46

Michael Hardware, I do wish that you had taken the time to "Listen" to Ms Fogdens submission rather than come out "Guns blazing" to criticise the NHS and the appeal delivered on behalf of PAH....if this is only coming out now what of the provision of the Emergency Services and Educational establishments when they fail to be delivered...AND WHAT IS THE BURDEN REALLY GONNA BE FOR THE RESIDENTS OF HARLOW THAT LIVE HERE NOW.

Kim Oconnor
2023-03-01 19:21:18

Neil your spot on. Absolutely.

Michael Hardware
2023-03-01 23:27:59

I would have liked to hear Ms Fogden’s submission two years ago, instead at the last minute. And if you read the HoT, you would see the provision for education and emergency services.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-03-02 00:11:39

Michael, As the only Conservative Councillor to attend the Harlow LDP Examination Hearings, Cllr David Carter will be able to tell you what the representative from the NHS said in response to a question about the new hospital, that in the event that the government did not stump up the whole cost, the developers would have to pay the shortfall. When asked why, she said very bluntly, well if you build homes for thousands of potential new patients you have to pay for the facilities to look after them.

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