Health plea

SIR - In last week’s Herald, Dr D Hall felt it necessary, in response to an article the previous week by Mr Charles Lee, to indirectly apologise for any intimation that some of the potential financial contribution from the developer of the Fortfield site should be used towards the redevelopment of the Sidmouth Health Centre.

I do not make any apology for stating in my letter, (Health Centre Bursting at the Seams), also printed in last week’s Herald, that a portion of any financial gain from developers should be used towards a new Health Centre.

What Mr Lee fails to accept is that, through no fault of the present government, this country is in the worst financial situation it has been in since the end of the Second World War. All national finances, including those of the NHS, are under extreme pressure.

I am 100% in support of private enterprise and the right to make profits; this is the only hope the country has of getting through the present crisis. However, I do not agree that the bonuses of directors, and the dividends of shareholders in development companies, should be increased at the expense of the taxpayers.

If a supermarket chain wishes to develop a major unit, it is required, through Planning Gain (Section 106 agreements or Infrastructure Levies), to pay the full costs of all associated Highways improvements and other infrastructure work as a condition of gaining Planning Consent. The taxpayer is not expected to contribute to these costs.

Why should residential developers be treated any differently from retailers? The stresses currently being put upon local facilities, including the Health Centre, are primarily as a result of the substantial increase in the population of Sidmouth and the surrounding area by the excessive amount of residential development approved by EDDC.

I have no hesitation, therefore, in reiterating the statement I made in my previous letter, that a contribution from any financial gain in relation to the Fortfield, or any other Development in the Sidmouth area, should be made towards the Health Centre redevelopment as well as to the relocation of the Library.

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Why should the taxpayer be expected to pay through NHS or other government funding for facilities which are put under pressure as a result of developments, if the companies responsible are not themselves expected to contribute.

Ian Scott

19 Sidvale Close, Sidford