Councillor: No more development until bigger GP surgery built
- Credit: Mike Page/Phil Hardy
A councillor has said he is unable to support any more homes in his village until GP provision is increased.
On October 20, South Norfolk Council’s planning committee voted to approve plans for an additional 200 homes in Hethersett, after the developers built their originally anticipated 1,196 homes with less land than they had originally thought was needed.
Local Conservative councillor Phil Hardy gave an impassioned speech in that meeting, in which he said that the village’s surgery, which has previously spoken out about levels of demand, was “on its knees” trying to cope with its current patient numbers.
He said: "They were struggling before Covid with five-week waiting lists and now they are in a very serious crisis situation and we all need to do what we can to help them.
“Each GP sees 1,500 patients each, way above the best practice guidelines. There’s no more room for a new GP to go in, so new patients will increase these numbers for each GP that is currently there further.”
Speaking this week about the decision to grant permission for the homes, Mr Hardy said he was “very disappointed” but that he is “working behind the scenes with the leader of South Norfolk Council, John Fuller, and we’re going to be working with Humbleyard [GP] Practice and working to find a solution, maybe working the the developer as well".
He added: “We’re certainly not going to let it go, and the healthcare situation will be resolved eventually.”
Under the district’s local plan, Mr Hardy pointed out, there is no more housing planned for Hethersett until 2031, giving the village a valuable “10-year respite”.
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“Now we’ve got much more control, I believe, over what can come into Hethersett over the next 10 years.
“I don’t think the door will be open to new housing, at all, for at least the next decade, and if any applications come in - speculative applications - we will be opposing them, because until the doctor’s surgery is resolved, we’re unable to welcome any new housing in Hethersett, Little Melton and Bawburgh, because they are all reliant on the doctor’s surgery as well.”
“We have to put the care of residents before housing developer requirements,” he added.