Health service fears as 1,200 houses planned

The Sherborne Patient Participation Group (PPG) has raised concerns over a lack of increased medical facilities to meet the needs of people living in 1,200 new homes proposed in the Dorset Council Local Plan.

The plan outlines development in existing allocated sites at Barton Farm, Sherborne Hotel and Gas House Hill and further growth delivered near Barton Farm, and land north and south of Bradford Road.

Chair of the PPG at The Grove Medical Centre in Sherborne, Roger Marsh said the group is ‘very concerned’ about the lack of increased medical facilities in the Local Plan for Sherborne.

And he says more development without health infrastructure will leave existing medical facilities ‘unable to cope’.

Mr Marsh said: “The plan makes no mention of increased medical facilities as part of its infrastructure and it appears to just concentrate on an increase in housing without taking into consideration the needs of those who will occupy those dwellings. More forward thinking is required before it becomes an insoluble problem.”

Mr Marsh addressed the extraordinary meeting of Sherborne Town Council on March 8, urging Dorset Council to include vital health-related infrastructure in its Local Plan, and Mr Marsh submitted the views of members of The Grove PPG to Dorset Council before the end of the public consultation on March 15.

In the statement to Dorset Council, Mr Marsh said: “We have also seen a growth in the number of patients registered with both existing medical practices. In April 2013 there were 16,895 patients registered with the Sherborne Practices and today this figure has grown to 18,346, an increase of 1,450 patients over an eight-year period.”

“The most noticeable increase has been from April 2018 to date, with over 900 more patients registering with the practices, mainly due to the more recent housing development in the Barton Farm estate. With the increase in housing development proposed by the plan of over 1,400 new dwellings, the strain on our medical services will obviously increase.
Unfortunately, this can be viewed as a long term problem that does not require immediate attention, but it becomes a problem by its very nature of gradual population increase that finally results in the total inability of the existing service to cope.”

The Government has said 30,481 new homes must be built in Dorset by 2038 – around 1,793 each year. In North Dorset 4,389 new homes are proposed, including a 1,800 home expansion of Gillingham. Dorset Council was approached for comment.

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