Discounting out of hand a large site in the middle of Ingatestone for NHS use would be a “poor decision”, councillors fear.
Brentwood Borough Council is currently undertaking detailed technical and heritage impact assessment to regenerate Ingleton House – a sheltered housing scheme within Ingatestone.
The sheltered housing scheme on Stock Lane is no longer fit for purpose and has now been identified by the borough council as part of its small sites development programme of new affordable homes as part of its strategic housing development programme.
The expectation is that this site will proceed to planning later this year.
But the delivery team is aware of the desire to find an alternative site in the area for health provision and is working on identifying both a potential plot in the council’s ownership.
The team also needs the support of health providers to identify their own opportunities and support those too.
Councillor David Kendall said at the housing committee on Monday June 27 it would be a “poor decision” to discount its use for health provision, given the pressure on health services in the town, before learning whether the NHS definitely does not want or need it.
He added: “I don’t know if we have anything in writing that the NHS has definitely ruled out Ingleton House.
“If we have that in writing or if we are aware of that we would like to know as members.
“But while there is still a potential door open as a council surely we should investigate that before we close that door completely.
Councillor Tom McLaren said: “The NHS is a huge animal and takes a long time to make decisions and I would be concerned about unnecessary delays being caused especially if we are looking at other options in the area for the provision of heath services.
“It may take the NHS an extremely long time which would be an extreme burden on the council form a financial perspective and there may be after a prolonged period come to a decision they didn’t want to do anything at Ingleton House and it reminds me of the expression a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush where we can deliver a fantastic housing scheme within the heart of Ingatestone and deliver for residents and people who have genuine housing need while at the same time in parallel looking at other options for heath service in the area.”