Posted by: swinemoor | April 26, 2010

Undue pressure?

Leading up to the meeting of the ERYC Planning Committee on 17th September 2009 the PCT were peddling the line that if you do not agree to the Swinemoor Lane site then there will be no new hospital in Beverley as there is no time/cannot afford another site and the funding from the Government would be lost.

Conversations with councillors and others and comments by Councillor Mathieson at the pre-planning meeting on 14th September 2009 would seem to confirm this view as would recent comments from the local Liberal Democrats on their website where they state:

….we felt it was a choice between that or no hospital at all….We felt blackmailed into ignoring a poor consultation but we voted in favour because in all the circumstances including the Credit Crunch, this was the best we could hope for.

Councillor Bird is on the record as saying in the Beverley Guardian:

I think we absolutely need a hospital for the town. To get those services was our first priority and we have acomplished that, but I was surprised at the choice of site. I’m not convinced that it’s the best place for it, I would have thought building it near the ambulance station would have been better.

Was this line of argument from the PCT the correct one? All is not as it appears it would seem. In the minutes of the Community Hospital Liaison Committee on 21st January this year Ivan Ellul (Chief Executive of the PCT) said, when questioned on this topic:

…now that Outline Planning approval has been secured we have a far better chance of securing the funding so this should not be an issue, particularly as we are now much further on with the project .

It appears, therefore, that at least some of the ERYC councillors voted in favour of a hospital on a flooding, greenfield location adjacent to an already overcrowded road on the basis that, if they did not, Beverley would get no hospital when this may actually not have been the case at all.

Score one for local democracy and the planning process!

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