MORE than £750,000 looks set to be contributed to the district’s health facilities.
As part of the condition of planning permissions, section 106 agreements are negotiated between developers and local authorities, which see them give money for community facilities such as schools and hospitals.
But back in February, Independent councillor Peter Barnes raised concerns developers were becoming increasingly reluctant to put their hands in their pockets.
He argued hundreds of thousands of pounds was being lost by the NHS and said increased house building in the district was placing “a considerable strain” on existing medical facilities.
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) – which is responsible for Warwick, Stratford, and the Ellen Badger Hospital in Shipston – had continued to ask for section 106 money to cover the extra demand.
But Stratford District Council maintained some of the Trust’s claims had not been accepted as they were not in keeping with policy.
Coun Barnes called on the authority to take a tougher stance and last month members of the authority’s Cabinet agreed to add an additional clause to all appropriate future planning permissions.
It meant if the Trust could show the claims were valid and the authority’s head of environment and planning agreed they were compliant, developers would be asked to make a contribution appropriate to the size and scale of the development.
And since the new clause has been introduced, more than £750,000 worth of section 106 contributions have been agreed in principle.
Plans for 60 homes at Salford Priors were given the go-ahead in mid March – bringing in more than £100,000 and two applications for 44 homes in Lower Quinton and 52 homes in Newbold-on-Stour have raised £45,000 and £29,000 respectively in developer contributions.
But the largest by far has come from the developers behind the Meon Vale scheme in Lower Quinton where a contribution of just over £583,000 was agreed after plans to build 550 homes were given the green light on March 25.
This means – subject to the four claims being found compliant under the new rules – a total of around £760,000 should be made available to the Trust.
Coun Barnes admitted he was delighted by the progress so far.
He told The Observer: “We’ll be doing all we can to make sure the hospitals get the money but in the meantime, I’m very pleased we have been able to move the issue on so quickly.”