SOME THOUGHTS ARISING FROM A RECENT APPEAL JUDGEMENT.
Probably no planning related public consultation ever has concluded without feedback relating to the inability to get an appointment with the local doctor, and this development is only going to make things worse.
If this is such a common issue the question is why haven’t we found a solution yet?
A recent appeal in South Devon (called in by the Secretary of State) has again highlighted the confusion that still arises when planning and health engage, or don’t.
As part of the Inquiry for 1,200 dwellings in Newton Abbott the Torbay & South Devon NHS Trust sought £1M to allow them to manage the impacts of the development upon local health services.
The Trust were represented by a barrister at the Inquiry and their core case related to the funding relationship between the Trust and the NHS. This is formulae based and tends to remain fixed over the short to medium term. As such, the Trust were concerned that for the first 3 years of development the Trust would not be funded to deal with increasing demands upon them before NHS funding formulas would reflect the larger target market.
By contrast, the appellants queried whether the Trust should engage in strategic health provision questions since the statutory function to plan for service delivery is with the NHS. The Trusts are akin to private contractors delivering a service within a competitive market.
The Inspector concluded that without a need for enhanced capital infrastructure it was inappropriate for the Trust to seek gap funding, effectively to pay staff costs as an alternative to the NHS meeting this obligation.
This was particularly the case where the site was allocated within the Local Plan’s as part of its long term solution to meeting its housing needs.
Both the Trust and the NHS commissioners could have realised sooner that this development would come forward and if they needed capital funding they would need to engage with the local plan.
This emphasises the importance of early engagement within the plan making process to ensure social infrastructure needs are appropriately accommodated, and to identify how to deliver directly relevant infrastructure. Equally, where such bids are not plan led, advice is frequently required regarding the legitimacy of late, left field bids for Section 106 funding.
Chapman Lily have a wealth of experience in delivering large scale development and infrastructure as well as challenging the more opportunistic claims upon the development in the interests of their clients. If you wish to discuss development opportunities or the ways to engage more effectively in both long-term planning as well as the preparation of applications please get in touch.
For More information, please follow: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/recovered-appeal-land-at-wolborough-barton-coach-road-newton-abbot-ref-3205558-3-june-2020