'Norwich is going to need another hospital' - concerns over impact of new homes
PUBLISHED: 12:54 15 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:18 15 January 2020
Concerns have been raised over how health services will cope when thousands more homes are built in and around Norwich.
A blueprint for where nearly 45,000 new homes could be built in parts of Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk by 2038 says an estimated £36m will need to be spent on new hospital beds, theatres and rooms, if the homes earmarked in the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) are built.
Planners are also looking at whether patients can be spread among the 68 GP surgeries or whether new surgeries are needed in the north and northwest of Norwich.
There will also need to be new clinical rooms at health centres and community hospitals.
Concerns were raised at a Norwich City Council sustainable development panel.
Councillors were considering the draft of the strategy, which plans for where housing could be permitted from 2018 to 2038.
Labour councillor Ian Stutely said: "Based on this growth, Norwich is going to need another hospital."
Council officers told him the NHS Long Term Plan and the Norfolk and Waveney sustainability and transformation partnership are looking at the capacity issue, while committee chairman Mike Stonard said the NHS was not only about hospital beds.
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Concerns were also raised about the suggestion that 1,200 of the homes should be built in village clusters in South Norfolk.
Labour city councillor Karen Davis said she feared that could create dormitory villages.
She said: "When you look at Norwich's economy, most people in the top three earning brackets don't live in Norwich. They live in Broadland and South Norfolk and drive in to work.
"So I don't see how this is going to help Norwich, it's just going to create dormitories."
Green councillor Lesley Grahame said it was important to ensure such developments had facilities to charge electric vehicles.
And there was also a call from Liberal Democrat Caroline Ackroyd for a new train station to be built at Thickthorn or Hethersett.
However, officers said "significant investment" in an extra track would be needed to make that a reality, so trains between Norwich and Cambridge are not slowed down.
The draft plan is due to go out for consultation at the end of this month.