Diss GP welcomes call for homes developer to fund Health Centre expansion

Diss Health Centre ANL-150204-084417009
Diss Health Centre ANL-150204-084417009

A long-serving Diss GP has welcomed a report calling on a housing developer to contribute towards the town’s health facilities, but warned the planning strategy has to be “properly thought out”.

A new consultation by NHS England, for a plan to build 136 homes north of Frenze Hall Lane, has told applicant Persimmon Homes Anglia it must provide £42,920, to help mitigate the effects the houses will have on the local surgery.

According to the impact assessment, the application for the homes, still to be decided by South Norfolk Council, will lead to 313 further people being registered at Diss Health Centre, between the Parish Fields and Lawns Practices.

NHS England says these impacts are “unsustainable” without appropriate mitigation, and funding will be required before building begins.

Dr Ian Hume, a health practitioner in Diss for more than 20 years, told the Diss Express: “I think, in the development of homes, it is only right that health needs are included.

“We welcome additional resources to help the improvements taking place.”

The health centre has been seeking to expand following planning approval in 2013, and is now in discussions over an outline business plan.

But Dr Hume called for a “broader approach” for housebuilder contributions to health provisions, to ensure funding was “proportionate”.

He added that greater integration was needed between planning policy and the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which looks at extending local community services.

“There needs to be a clear strategy for the contributions towards health. It’s difficult to say whether this is the right amount,” said Dr Hume.

“The concern is if you pluck a figure out of the air, it may not be adequate.”

To view the homes plan, go to https://info.south-norfolk.gov.uk/online-applications — the reference is 2016/1566.