Health services missing out on vital cash

Stewart Attwood claims that Louth is missing out on the chance of much-needed funds to boost health provision.
Stewart Attwood claims that Louth is missing out on the chance of much-needed funds to boost health provision.

Residents in Louth and other local towns and villages could be missing out on vital funding to improve health services because of a change in policy by the NHS.

That is the claim made by a leading figure in a campaign to block one of East Lindsey’s biggest ever housing developments from going ahead.

Stewart Attwood says he attended a recent meeting of Horncastle Town Council’s planning committee when it was announced that, due to a change in policy, the NHS will only ask for a financial contribution from developers towards improving facilities - if projects involve more than 50 homes.

The financial contributions come from Section 106 agreements - designed to ensure developers pay for improvements to a range of services, including health, education, roads and drainage.

Mr Attwood has shown The Leader details of correspondence with the NHS which he says prove the change in policy.

He says that not asking for money for smaller developments is a ‘major flaw’ as, when added together, they could number more homes than a major housing estate.

Mr Attwood says the matter is highlighted by a recent application for 34 bungalows in Horncastle.

He says that in regard to the application, Lincolnshire County Council has asked for a contribution of £200,000 towards improving education but the NHS has not made any request because it falls below the criteria of 50 homes.

Mr Attwood plans to contact Victoria Atkins MP, and he also wants ELDC to put pressure on the NHS to think again.

Mr Attwood said: “We are talking about substantial amounts of money, hundreds of thousands of pounds, at a time, when the NHS is, quite frankly, on its knees.

“I have suggested the town council write to ELDC and alert them to the situation and seek their support to get the NHS position changed so that all major developments (ie: over 10 units) are required to have a costed contribution.

“It seems that other 106 consultees are not applying the ‘50 plus’ criterion introduced by NHS which raises questions of consistency and relativity.

“I suspect however that ELDC will not be particularly responsive.”

The Town Council has confirmed they will discuss the matter next month.