CAMPAIGNERS criticised “laughable” plans bringing nearly 600 families to Wickford – with only £120,000 to pay for healthcare.
Details have emerged of the millions of pounds Chelmsford City Council will get for the creation of 575 homes, more school places and improve roads as part of development on the former Runwell Hospital site.
However, developer Countryside Properties has agreed to hand over just £120,000 for healthcare – despite a shortage of GPs in the area.
There is just one doctor per 1,700 people in Wickford, compared to a national average of 1,350.
Campaigners say the influx of 575 families would be a drain on already-over subscribed surgeries and more cash is needed.
David Harrison, Ukip councillor for Wickford, said he welcomed the money for education and roads, but said that for healthcare was not enough.
He said: “This development will have a major effect on Wickford in terms of traffic, schools and health care provision.
“I welcome the proposed education provision, as long as the £1.7m for secondary school places is mainly spent on Wickford schools.
“The promised highway improvements are quite minor for what is an already well-used narrow road between Wickford and the A130.
“As there is no provision for a doctors’ surgery in the development, the £120,000 to be shared between four practices in Wickford is laughable. £30,000 each. What a joke.
“99% of the people in those new homes will want to register with Wickford doctors – and we are already trying to get a better provision for Wickford based on the present situation.’’ Last month, controversial proposals were approved for Wickford’s London Road surgery to move on to the former indoor market site.
However, campaigners want the site to house a larger healthcare centre, with more doctors and involving other Wickford surgeries.
Talks are continuing between Mr Harrison and the NHS to see if it would be interested in creating a larger surgery. But Basildon Council would have to agree anything proposed, as it is giving money towards the development.
A Chelmsford City Council spokesman said: “The NHS team for the area, consulted as part of the planning application for the new homes, carried out a health impact assessment. The assessment identified existing local surgeries within a five minute drive of the site that have open patient registers, as well as looking at the possibility of a new surgery within the development itself.
“The NHS determined a new surgery within the development site would not be the right approach for the area, preferring instead to invest in improved patient capacity at existing surgeries. The amount of money needed was determined by the NHS. The funds will be made available to the NHS at various stages throughout the construction programme to enable the improvement works to be carried out.”
Chris Bladon, new homes and communities development director for Countryside Properties said: "The Section 106 funds for healthcare in respect of the Runwell Hospital redevelopment were calculated by the local NHS to provide a contribution towards improving the existing healthcare facilities. The local NHS prepared their own independent Health Impact Assessment in relation to this planning application.
"The healthcare provision is part of a comprehensive Section 106 package being provided by Countryside which includes affordable housing and significant improvements to the nearby A132 and Runwell Sports and Social Club.”