NHS is missing out on vital money, claims campaigner in Horncastle

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.

People living in Lincolnshire are missing out on thousands of pounds which could be used to boost health facilities in towns and villages.

That is the claim made by a leading figure in the campaign to halt a major housing development from going ahead in Horncastle.

Stewart Attwood, a former town councillor, 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 now only ask for a financial contribution from developers towards improving facilities - if projects involve more than 50 homes.

The contributions come from official 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 News details of correspondence with the NHS which he says prove the change in policy.

He says that not asking for money from smaller developments is a major flaw as added together, they could number more homes than a 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 in Horncastle but that the NHS has not made any request. Mr Attwood has raised the matter with the town council and plans to involve MP Victoria Atkins.

He also wants East Lindsey District Council - which is responsible for planning matters - 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.