Community leaders have expressed disbelief after the NHS lost out on £273,783 of funding that a housing developer had agreed to pay towards its pioneering health campus in Catterick Garrison after failing to justify why it needed the money.
The loss of the developer’s “section 106” contribution emerged at a meeting of North Yorkshire Council’s Richmond constituency planning committee, as councillors were told a recent decision not to award the funding to the NHS meant an application for a 240-home estate at the eastern edge of Catterick Garrison needed reconsidering.
Miller Homes’ scheme to develop 11.3 hectares of agricultural land in Brough St Giles was approved in October, subject to contributions being paid towards nearby Colburn Leisure Centre and an NHS contribution for the shared Ministry of Defence and NHS Catterick Integrated Care Centre.
At the time NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group said £273,873 was needed for measures so the impacts to local healthcare as a result of the development were addressed.
The NHS stated the existing local general practice facilities had insufficient capacity to accommodate all the residents of the development.
The exact amount sought by the NHS was based on the three main GP surgeries that are within a two-mile radius of the application site having a “floorspace deficit at the present time”.
Miller Homes initially agreed to pay the NHS in full, before questioning the amount of the contribution, citing High Court case law which found it should only be paid where a development directly impacts on services, with the onus on the party seeking the contribution to show evidence of need.
After being asked to prove the funding gap, NHS Humber and North Yorkshire advised while building the care campus would cost about £25m, but added “the exact amounts are not in the public domain, however, there remains a shortfall”.
An officer’s report to the planning committee stated: “It is considered that there is insufficient information to evidence the amount of funding shortfall and why there is a shortfall for the overall Catterick Integrated Care Campus project.
“We also have not been provided any detailed information on what the existing GP surgeries will be used for and whether any of these may be become surplus to requirements and could be sold for development to generate capital to fund the campus.”
Nevertheless, with the scheme featuring 30 per cent affordable housing being approved again by councillors, Miller Homes is still set to pay £47,560 for the installation of solar panels at Colburn Leisure Centre, saving an estimated £15,000 annually for the community facility which has been severely hit by rising electricity costs.
After the meeting an NHS spokesman said the care campus projected would not be affected by losing out on the developers’ contribution.
He said: “Irrespective of Section 106 funding from the Miller Homes scheme, plans for the Catterick Integrated Care Campus are well on track, with construction on this first-of-its-kind NHS and Ministry of Defence care facility due to begin in spring 2024.”
Richmond councillor and Independent group leader on the council, Stuart Parsons, said: “The NHS are saying they are overwhelmed by the number of patients, which makes the failure to demonstrate need in the area is absolutely unbelievable.
“It just means nearly developer will turn round and say they haven’t demonstrated the need, we aren’t paying it. It’s not just the loss of £270,000, they will potentially lose all hope of contributions from everywhere.”