A local councillor has said that the NHS was ‘lax’ in its funding application for the University of Lincoln Health Service following plans being approved that could see over one thousand extra students on campus.

The University of Lincoln Health Service is overseen by Lincolnshire West CCG. Photo: Oliver Pridmore.

The City of Lincoln Council officially approved plans to build ten new student accommodation buildings at a meeting of their planning committee on the 5th December.

The buildings, from developers Aberdeen Standard Investments, will be located in the western corner of St. Marks Retail Park and will house 1,372 students in total.

But despite the plans first being given ‘outline planning permission’, where an authority says a plan is likely to be accepted, in June 2017 – NHS England only made its funding application more than a year afterwards.

A funding application can be made under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, where contributions are sought from developers towards the cost of providing community infrastructure –known as S106 funding.

But NHS England’s application only came last November as part of a consultation, where relevant local bodies are asked to give their views on significant planning applications.

In its consultation response, the NHS requested nearly four hundred thousand pounds of funding, saying that the extra students would place ‘extra pressure’ on the service given that most of them would be ‘extremely likely’ to register with it rather than other practices in the city.

The ten new buildings would be between four and ten storeys in height. Photo: Aberdeen Standard Investments.

But Councillor Gary Hewson, who voted in favour of the plans, says that NHS England should have raised its concerns earlier.

Cllr Hewson told The Linc: “You cannot turn the clock back and no mention was initially made to developers about their concerns.

“It wouldn’t be fair on the developers for this bidding to take place retrospectively as they don’t do something for free; they have to make a certain profit.

“The NHS is at fault here as they knew that they should have put a bid in at the time to put pressure on the company.

“According to officers I’ve spoken to the NHS is going to start getting its act together.”

Demolition work has been taking place in the western corner of St. Marks Retail Park since last month. Photo: Oliver Pridmore.

NHS England oversees the budget and planning of the health service, whilst some elements of budgeting and planning are overseen more locally by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Lincolnshire West CCG is the organisation responsible for overseeing the University of Lincoln Health Service.

In a statement to The Linc, the group’s Chief Operating Officer, Sarah-Jane Mills, said:

“The CCG will continue to work closely with colleagues at the University of Lincoln Health Service to ensure they can provide the high level of care for patients that we expect.

“We will also continue to liaise closely with the council on planning issues, including section 106 applications.”