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NHS Planners Dash Hopes Of New Health Centre for Ash

Published on: 18 Jun, 2022
Updated on: 18 Jun, 2022

The new estate south of Ash Lodge Drive. Some homes are now occupied, others are still being built.

By David Reading

The NHS says it has no plans for a new primary care health centre in Ash, despite the fact that Bewley Homes set aside land for this purpose on the new housing estate south of Ash Lodge Drive.

The decision has been condemned by local campaigners, who have been asking for years how health services will cope with the influx of hundreds of new residents in Ash, Ash Green and Tongham.

The NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for health services in the local area, said that instead of a new centre, it is working to expand and improve existing primary healthcare sites in the area. A statement said this will provide the capacity needed to meet the extra demand from the large increase in the local population.

Asked what the expansion would involve, a CCG spokesperson said: “We’re working with the local group of GP practices (the Primary Care Network) to ensure there is enough capacity to meet the growing demand. While we are working on some improvements and expansions, the solution will not lie in individual changes to practices but to a network-wide approach involving the whole primary care community.”

In August 2021, Guildford Borough Council and Bewley Homes both gave assurances that land was still being safeguarded for a new healthcare centre to meet the rise in the local population generated by the housing development boom.

Before the Local Plan was adopted in 2019, assurances were also given that development would not go ahead without the necessary infrastructure provision.

The land on the new Bewley estate was set aside by the developers under a Section 106 legal agreement with GBC.  This agreement lasts five years, until 2024.

The NHS has felt for some time that general practice services for residents in the area will be best provided for by the existing local GP practices – the Bartlett Group Practice in Ash Vale and the Border practice in Blackwater Way.

Despite the latest NHS statement, GBC said this week that some sort of healthcare facility could still go ahead on the land set aside by Bewley.

Cllr Julia McShane

Cllr Julia McShane, deputy leader of the council, said: “We are currently in discussions with Bewley Homes about the possibility of providing a healthcare facility on the Ash Lodge Drive development. If the provision of a healthcare facility is not possible, the S106 legal agreement, which was signed between us and Bewley Homes, allows for the option of using the land for a community facility instead. This will be investigated in due course, in accordance with the S106 legal agreement.”

Bewley confirmed that it is meeting GBC to see how it could move forward with a healthcare facility on the site.

A spokesperson for the Ash Green Residents’ Association (AGRA) said: “We are obviously deeply disappointed that the promised new GP surgery – as  described in the council officers’ report when Bewley’s application was approved in 2018 – may not now go ahead.”

AGRA questioned the CCG’s plans to develop existing health services, saying: “During the Ash Manor House appeal earlier this year GBC gave evidence that the CCG and Bartlett Group needed eight new consulting rooms. However, four of these will be in the Frimley Green centre. This is between 7.5 and 10 kilometres from the Tongham developments from which the S106 contributions are taken. The Frimley surgery is in Surrey Heath, not Guildford borough.

“The second key point is that if the new surgery does not go ahead, any facility Bewley may develop could be some kind of private health facility which may not be available for local residents. This would need some kind of guarantee from the CCG that they would work with the provider to ensure that the facility promised by Bewley as early as January 2018 is delivered to provide a benefit for the local residents rather than for a private enterprise only.”

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test One Response to NHS Planners Dash Hopes Of New Health Centre for Ash

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    June 19, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    This ought to be a lesson to GBC. No matter how much developers promise health facilities, buses, and schools, they have zero influence over such infrastructure.

    Similar promises have been made for other sites, such as Wisley, which will never be delivered. So much for the Tory promises of “no development before infrastructure”, and the R4GV’s promise to review the Local Plan, in light of no infrastructure delivery.

    Now the Local Plan is adopted, only the developers are in charge. Great job guys!

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