Cranleigh Village Health Trust is disappointed that Waverley Borough Council are recommending our plans be refused when councillors meet to determine the application next week.
Our planning consultant has today requested that the council defer the hearing of our application at committee, for two main reasons.
Firstly, the report comments about the lack of clarity around how the proposed funding of community benefit would work in practice or be secured via a legal agreement.
We feel this statement is unfair and prejudicial to the application, as we have been awaiting comments from Waverley Borough Council about the draft legal agreement, known as a Section 106 agreement.
When our earlier application was refused in November 2019, the report at the time explained that, “The case for development at this large scale is considered to be substantiated and it is reasonable to concur that the community beds can be secured via a legal agreement”.
There now appears to have been a significant change in this view, but we have not received any explanation for the change.
As we have not been given the opportunity to engage with Waverley Borough Council about the wording of a legal agreement, to demonstrate how this would work, we are concerned that councillors will have an unreasonable doubt in their minds on this matter.
The second reason for requesting a deferral is to give us more time to consider the newly submitted comments from Surrey County Council. These comments suggest that Surrey County Council has ‘sufficient capacity’ for residential care beds through its existing block contract arrangements with care home operators in Surrey.
We feel this statement contradicts the earlier committee report which states: “…there is a shortage of affordable residential and nursing care home beds that are in line with Surrey County Council’s (SCC) guide price.”
While we accept that there have been some changes in the adult social care sector since this report was published in mid-2019, we have been given no evidence that the massive shortfall mentioned previously has been satisfied, and our proposals would go towards meeting the capacity shortfall, in line with the Surrey County Council guide price.
We need some time to explore this issue by engaging with the Integrated Care Partnership and Surrey County Council, to establish for councillors the current position.
We are also disappointed that our affordable health care accommodation for key workers is given so little positive consideration when it has been improved in terms of the size and type in line with past local comments. Our plans will deliver a form of affordable housing tenure which is the same as that which forms the majority of the affordable housing delivered in Waverley in the last 5 years.
This application for health worker accommodation was first made a long time before the Covid crisis and a direct response to the requests of various local public health bodies.
Our planning application remains the best possible way to fulfil our charitable objectives; securing community benefit through the provision of affordable community beds, along with the significant benefit of genuinely affordable housing provision for our valuable NHS and care sector key workers.