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Debate over who should get credit for GP surgery funding

Thursday, 11 April 2024 17:02

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

A GP surgery in Burley-in-Wharfedale is being awarded £400k of developer cash to expand – but a row has broken out over who should gain credit for the windfall.

Grange Road GP Surgery has had rising patient numbers in recent years, and the development of over 750 homes in the village will further increase patient numbers.

On Tuesday, Bradford Council’s decision making Executive approved the release of £400,000 of Community Infrastructure Levy funding.

CIL is a pot of cash that developers are required to pay to improve infrastructure that might be strained through their developments.

Currently the practice has a patient population of 6,900 compared to 4,500 when it first opened in 1984.

The first phase of CIL payments from the residential development at Sun Lane and Ilkley Road have been received by Bradford Council, so the funding can now be formally allocated.

Bradford Council put out a press release previewing the CIL decision shortly before Easter.

But at Tuesday’s Executive meeting Councillor Bob Felsted (Cons, Wharfedale) accused the Labour Council of trying to claim credit for the new funding. He said he had been contacted by the surgery over two and half years ago with a request for support securing CIL cash to extend the facility.

He argued there had been little to no contact the surgery from the Council.

He said: “I alone have been asked to intercede by Grange Park Surgery, on several occasions, to resolve progressing the CIL funding issues.

“It has taken over two years to reach this stage and at no point was anyone other than Grange Park Surgery Partners, our local MP and I involved in discussions.

“I am concerned that I and Grange Park Surgery have had to fight so hard and for this £400,000 funding that needs to be paid upfront as permitted by legislation.”

Councillor Chris Steele (Lab, Wharfedale) said he had been “nagging” Council bosses to move as fast as possible with the funding.

Councillor Alex Ross Shaw, Executive for Regeneration, Planning and Highways, said: “As Councillor Felstead mentioned, this has been going on for some time.

“This is quite a unique project – nationally there have been very few examples of CIL money being used in this way.”

He said the NHS alone could not have afforded the scheme, and the extra CIL money was required.

Referring to Cllr Felstead’s comments he said: “You need the correct measures in place before you put public money into a private practice.

“Until the CIL came in we couldn’t issue the money. There seems to be some confusion that we have been sat on this money all this time, that hasn’t been the case.”

The Executive voted to approve the funding.

After the decision Cllr Steele told the LDRS that if the surgery didn’t expand it may have had to close its lists.

Funding will come from three sources, the CIL money, the NHS and from the surgery itself.

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