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Labour concern over Frenchay development

Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire are expressing their concern about revelations that local NHS bosses are in discussions with a private developer about selling land at the Frenchay Hospital site.

News has recently emerged that housebuilder Redrow has submitted an application to develop land at the Frenchay Hospital site which has long been reserved for health and social care provision. At South Gloucestershire Council's Health Scrutiny Committee this morning, councillors expressed their concern about the possible impact of this move on the promised health services.

Although the NHS representatives at the meeting apologised for the way the news had broken and confirmed they had not encouraged Redrow's planning application, they pointedly refused to ask the developer to withdraw it. They confirmed to Labour councillor Ian Scott that exploratory discussions with the housebuilder had begun in November.

The Health Scrutiny Committee resolved to seek an assurance from the NHS that this plan would not be taken forward unless all partners, including the council, were satisfied that the long-promised health and social care provision would still be delivered on the site.

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Speaking after the meeting Councillor Ian Scott, who leads for Labour on health issues, said:

"The financial problems facing the NHS are clearly forcing local managers to look for any way they can to find money. This is an inevitable effect of the Tory government's austerity programme.

The community and councillors need to keep pressure on the NHS to ensure that the plan for health and social care services promised for Frenchay over many years does not suffer or get scaled back as a result of this or any other deal with housing developers."

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