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Proposed New Homes Threaten Hospital Growth

Tuesday 9 August 2011, 13:15
By Western Gazette

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Hospital expansion plans in Wincanton could be brought to a halt if consent to build 58 homes in Verrington goes ahead. If approved, the development could see a longstanding agreement for a road through the hospital car park to be activated.

If that happened fundraisers who want to see more facilities at the hospital say expansion could be prejudiced.

Thanks to money raised by the Friends of Wincanton Community Hospital, a new diabetic retinopathy facility opened this year and fundraising efforts are well under way to introduce an X-ray scanning unit, costing a total of £250,000.

But plans by Hopkins Developments Ltd to build an access road through the hospital car park to go with the housing estate plans could threaten future expansion. The developer signed an agreement in 1992 with the NHS to allow access through the hospital car park to its land behind the hospital.

Alan Judge, treasurer for the Friends of Wincanton Community Hospital charity, said: "The development would drastically change this area if it goes ahead. We have raised a lot of funds for the future growth of the hospital and this application could stop it from improving its services. The new diabetic retinopathy facility has helped reduce the number of people going to Yeovil for treatment by around 1,200.

"We have plans for an X-ray scanner also and that could help reduce a similar number of patients from travelling to Yeovil. It could be put in doubt if these plans are approved. The plans include a new road that would run through the hospital car park. We have serious concerns on the effect this will have on safety because elderly patients would be forced to cross a busy road to access the hospital."

Residents of Verrington and Dancing Lane also turned out at a town council meeting to voice their opposition to the homes.

District councillor and town council chairman Colin Winder said: "It is clear that there is plenty of opposition to this application and the council shares those concerns. Planning permission has been granted for enough houses in Wincanton to cater for the required level of development between now and 2026, so there is no need for any more.

"The removal of the 350 homes from the core strategy for that part of town looks likely and that proves the point. There is no doubt that developing that area would impinge on the hospital and an area of open space that is well loved by residents in that area."
In November, the town council reacted to the draft core strategy by stating no further developments should take place in Wincanton until the full impact of current developments is established.

The strategy is likely to be revised this year with a reduction in the amount of homes envisaged.

Hayley Parrish, whose garden in Cale Way backs on to the proposed site, wrote to South Somerset District Council expressing her concerns. She said: "I think it will be a real shame to kill off more wildlife in what's left of any field and grazing areas in Wincanton. I regularly see young deer playing in the field. There are also badgers and you can hear foxes in the evening.

"Many patients at the hospital are pushed around the car park to take in the views to King Alfred's Tower. These views may be the last thing some patients see before they die."

Article first published in the Western Gazette


Nick Colbert
Posts: 1
Hospital expansion
Reply #1 on : Thu August 11, 2011, 09:59:15
I am surprised no-one has yet criticised the health authority who chose to auction off this land to the highest bidder and grant the access through the hospital car park, thereby causing all the problems we read about above.

When I first heard they had auctioned off that land I was immediately concerned that they might have done so deliberately to prevent expansion of the hospital, otherwise why would the health authority not at least have held back some of the land to expand onto. Now the only way for expansion is up with disruption to the existing structure.

I think the health authority was showing a disregard to Verrington hospital and the people of Wincanton when they sold off that land and the access, and I believe all they got for it was £50,000.

If the health authority had any business sense at all they would have applied for planning permission for 40 houses on three quarters of the land and used the £300,000 sale proceeds to help provide us with an even better hospital.
Last Edit: August 11, 2011, 10:01:34 by Nick Colbert  
Victor Meldrew
Posts: 1
Hospital expansion
Reply #2 on : Thu August 11, 2011, 16:06:30
I cannot understand why the planners even thought that yhis was allowable, neverming Hopkins purchasing the land. I recall hearing that the ground the proposed houses are to be on is liable to slippage! It is apparently on a fault line, so any major development will no doubt cause susidence. One can only hope.OOPS.
Posts: 1
Proposed New Homes
Reply #3 on : Fri August 19, 2011, 11:17:05
Surely we must stop planning to build more and more houses in this town! Can people not see what has already happened to the town since the New Barnes development has been with us? Antisocial behavior and vandalism reports doubled. I've lived in Wincanton for 40+ years, can anyone tell me when the local sewage works were expanded, not in my life time I'm sure, they must be fit to burst! Have a heart Hopkins and leave the hospital alone and planners don't give in to developers so easily.
Posts: 1
Look at the Plans
Reply #4 on : Sat August 20, 2011, 09:33:32
Make sure you click on" build 58 homes in Verrington " in the frist line of the article and note the WW reported this story complete with the plans for you to look at over a year ago. This is what a web magazine can do.
Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 09:34:32 by johnbaxter  

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