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Ash Could Get New Children’s Day Nursery Under Developer’s Proposal

Published on: 14 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 14 Mar, 2024

The Bewley Homes site originally allocated for medical facility

By David Reading

A proposal to open a children’s day nursery in Ash, offering 100 places to pre-school children, is to be put forward to Guildford Borough Council by Bewley Homes.

If approved, the day nursery would be built on the plot of land set aside for the community by Bewley on the new estate at Ash Lodge Park, south of Ash Lodge Drive.

In the same building there would be a dental practice.

Originally it was hoped that the land would house a new GPs’ surgery. Bewley Homes earmarked the land for this purpose in 2019 under a Section 106 legal agreement with the council, a system that requires developers to secure benefits for the area where they are building. It was felt this would meet the area’s primary healthcare requirements, bearing in mind that many hundreds of new homes were being built throughout Ash and Tongham.

But the NHS said it didn’t want the land and instead intended to develop and improve existing primary care services at local surgeries.

On Wednesday (March 13) Andy Morris, Head of Strategic Land, Bewley Homes, said: “We have been trying to provide a doctors’ surgery on our Ash Lodge site over the last five years, but this has been blocked by the local Clinical Commissioning Groups, who determine what NHS services are needed in the local area. We have been exploring other types of health facility users under the Section 106 definition and employed a specialist agent to identify other options or interest.

“One new option is to provide a children’s day nursery which would offer 100 places to preschool children combined with a dental practice. They would share the same building but have different entrances and public areas.

“This would fit in with the Government’s objective to attract more parents back to work by offering an additional day nursery facility in the area. It will also keep the spirit of the health facility with a much-needed dental practice.

“We will be preparing this option for the council to consider as an alternative to our Section 106 requirement shortly.”

Since January, The Guildford Dragon NEWS has asked GBC on several occasions what will happen to the land, but has received no reply.

The issue was raised at a meeting of Ash Parish Council on Monday (March 11) but there was no new information.

A member of the public had suggested at the February meeting that the land had been sold by Bewley, and the parish council chair, Cllr Fiona White, had been tasked with contacting the relevant officers at Guildford Borough Council and providing an update.

Her statement on Monday simply echoed what The Dragon has been reporting since last September.

She said: “I have checked with the planning department at Guildford Borough Council. The land has not been sold. The developer has exhausted all possibilities of trying to find a GP practice to go in there. I am sure we all understand that it’s very difficult to get a GP practice to set up anywhere at the moment.

“However what they are doing now is looking to see what other community uses that land can be put to. So it’s still within the ownership of the developer and as yet there’s been no application to vary the use of that land. Obviously, it was conditioned that it should be there for a health facility. So hopefully we’ll hear before too long what the outcome is of their search for a community use will be for that plot of land.”

See also: Up for Sale – Land Set Aside for New Ash Health Centre


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Responses to Ash Could Get New Children’s Day Nursery Under Developer’s Proposal

  1. Paul Spooner Reply

    March 21, 2024 at 7:19 am

    Perhaps the NHS could update us on their plans and timelines for updating the current GP facilities?

    Paul Spooner is a former Conservative GBC leader and Ash borough councillor.

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