DEVELOPERS behind a new housing estate that has been given the green light want to contribute to providing a GP surgery in North West Bicester.

The 1,700 home housing estate called Himley Village will be part of Bicester’s Eco Town and sit on land next to Middleton Stoney Road.

Cherwell District Councillors met at last week’s planning committee to hear the latest developments with the application which they had initially approved back in March 2017.

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One concern they had was about whether a GP surgery that the developer, Portfolio Property Partners Ltd wants to provide ‘financial contributions’ to, would actually be delivered.

Conservative councillor Lyn Pratt, who serves Bicester North and Caversfield, does not think it will happen because of the decision made last month to build a ‘super-surgery’ in the south of the town.

She said: “I’m quite concerned about that (the GP) because I don’t think it would happen. We had a similar problem in Kingsmere where all along houses were sold with the provision of a surgery and now that’s not going to happen – it’s going elsewhere - and that’s down to the decision of the doctors in the town.”

Last month, health chiefs agreed that the £15m ‘super-surgery’ combining Langford Medical Practice, Victoria House Surgery, Montgomery House Surgery and Ambrosden Surgery, would be best situated at self-build site, Graven Hill.

Kingsmere, the rival site in the north, was found to be unable to fulfil a number of the ‘must have’ criteria and to be of ‘insufficient size’ for future expansion.

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Independent county councillor Les Sibley, who serves Bicester West, welcomes the proposal of a surgery in NW Bicester, and believes big estates such as the Eco Town, which will eventually house around 20,000 people, need their own GPs.

He said: “It’s great news. If this GP surgery is to be situated there, it will be fantastic news and I’m sure the current residents will welcome that proposal, but I do have some concerns. We need GPs -these estates are huge and they need their own GPs.”

Planning documents state that Himley Village will ‘provide financial contribution to the provision of a new GP Surgery or such other interim measure as may be required.’

This is because it seeks to meet the healthcare needs of the people who will eventually live at the site.

Caroline Ford, case officer at Cherwell District Council, said at the meeting: “On the masterplan there’s a site for a practice on the development on NW Bicester, not on the Himley Village site, but on land to the south of the railway line and it’s part of the application to the submission we’ve had as part of that site.

“We’re seeking contributions that are based on the health care or that will be used to meet the healthcare needs of the development of those who occupy the Himley Village development, and the current plan is that there will be a place on the NW Bicester site.”

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Despite the developer wanting to contribute to a GP, the decision comes down to the Oxfordshire Clinical Comissioning Group (CCG) which says it is not expecting to have another GP practice in the town.

It says: "The CCG has not approved Graven Hill as the site to combine the two Bicester GP practices, although the practices (Alchester Medical Group and Montgomery House Surgery) have stated that Graven Hill would be their preference.

"The new site – wherever is decided – will benefit from developer contributions from across Bicester and will accommodate the two practices to enable the growing population of the town to have access to primary care services.

"We are not expecting to have another GP practice in Bicester."

Portfolio Property Partners Ltd has accepted a Section 106 agreement which includes contributing towards the provision of a primary school as well as the realignment of Howes Lane.

Although 1,700 homes are planned for Himley Village, just 500 will be built due to the fact that work to Howes Lane has not started.

The council says the road must be realigned to ease the increase in traffic expected once people move in to the site, before all homes are built.

The new road line will run from Middleton Stoney Road roundabout to join Lord’s Lane, east of Purslane Drive and will pass under the railway to the north of Avonbury Business Park.

Despite the rail bridge and underpass getting £6.7m of funding to be built from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, Mr Sibley warned that if the road is not built soon, there will be ‘many years of delays’ in building the eco homes.

He said: “Perhaps we can put pressure on other developers and other interested parties to ensure we can get on and build the realigned road, because that’s the key thing with regards to the eco development, but it will need a lot of pressure from people to cough up with their Section 106 contributions sooner rather than later.”

Himley Village will include affordable housing and social and community facilities.

The development is proposed to meet true zero carbon standards and Lifetime Homes Standards.

It will also provide footway/cycle links to allow sustainable transport options.