MALVERN’S council chief has slammed the ‘unacceptable’ choice of either allocating funding to support the Worcestershire Royal Hospital or supporting local projects.
Coun Sarah Rouse made the call after council chiefs rejected Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust’s calls for Malvern Hills District Council to request more than £7million linked to the building of more than 4,800 new homes to the south and west of Worcester.
Health chiefs believe they should be able to access the cash pot paid into by developers of new homes across the district to help local hospitals cope with an increase in demand from the new houses.
But Coun Rouse disagreed with their calls and said the Government should review the way funding is provided to hospitals to cope with the development of new homes.
“It is totally unacceptable councils are being put in a position where they have to choose between funding vital infrastructure and the NHS,” she said.
“We have great sympathy with the position the trust is in and call on the Government to review the funding formula to address the issue it has raised. We will be writing to our MP to ask for her support in that.”
Coun Rouse said the current situation was unfair on healthcare providers and councils shouldn’t be forced to choose between their local NHS and funding the infrastructure required to support new housing developments.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust argued the current Government formula resulted in a delay between homes actually being built and occupied and additional money being allocated to help healthcare systems cope with the extra demand.
This, they said, left them with an ongoing revenue deficit and as a result it was only fair that developers should pay to fill in the gap.
However, the request was rejected by members of the council’s Northern Area Planning Committee at a meeting last Wednesday (August 14) after they heard granting it would result in less money for highway improvements, education and affordable housing provision linked to the developments.
It would also jeopardise the viability of the developments, which have already been granted outline planning permission in principle, but a delay in finalising legal agreements meant the Trust’s request could still be considered.
Similar requests have been made to other councils across the country.
As some of the developments fall within the Wychavon and Worcester City Council boundaries, those councils will also be asked to consider the Trust’s request separately.
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