Health Centre Facts

edited December 2012 in Health Centre
With the WTC meeting coming up on Monday, as well as looking ahead to the public meeting on the 30th October, I think that it is important to put together the FACTS that we collectively now know about the proposed Health Centre changes.

Please feel free to add to any other facts that we have been able to clarify. I think it would work best if this thread is pinned and where possible, is only used as a source to list facts, rather than debate. We can continually add to this thread.

There are still many questions that remain unanswered. I will also start a separate Health Centre Q's thread...

FACTS that we know to date:

[EDIT: There has been some confusion over the £1.5 million figure. Please see update on this from Zoe Cronin, Wivenhoe Surgery Practice Manger -]

RHL has now agreed terms for a new Health Centre, subject to planning on a unit at Cook's Shipyard. A pharmacy is being considered as part of the plans.

RHL is part of a wider company structure under Mill Asset Management.

WTC met RHL for a private meeting on 15th August. Minutes for this meeting have yet to appear as requested. The request to see them has yet to be acknowledged.

A joint press release was prepared by RHL and WTC on 5th September, if not earlier. This was not published for unknown reasons.

Bernard Jenkin MP knew of the change of location on 5th September, if not earlier.

WTC discussed the meeting in private during an open WTC meeting on 17th September. Members of the public and Borough councillors were asked to leave the room. The option to request to see the minutes for this session not will be available until they have been formally signed off on 15th October.

Cllr Jon Manning of Wivenhoe Cross ward wasn't informed by either RHL or WTC that the new surgery is now being planned outside of his ward.

Cllr's Steve Ford and Cyril Liddy of Wivenhoe Quay ward weren't informed by either RHL or WTC that the new surgery is being planned inside of their ward.

Cllr Julie Young of ECC wasn't informed of the changes by RHL or WTC. She found out via a CBC Planning Officer.

WTC issued a statement on 4th October stating:

"Wivenhoe Town Council soundly supports Realise Health Ltd. and the Wivenhoe surgery in their quest for a new medical centre in Wivenhoe. Whilst understanding that this initiative has been plagued with setbacks, the council remains supportive of the pursuit for a suitable site"

Sue Jackson, the Principle Planning Officer at CBC is leading the discussions with RHL. She stated on 4th October:

"I understand the plans are currently in a very preliminary stage and once they have progressed, and prior to the submission of a planning application, the applicants propose to involve councillors, the town council and local residents."

A further press release was issued by WTC on 5th October, which included:

"Realise Health Limited gave an informal presentation to Wivenhoe Town Council on 15th August 2012. This was absolutely the first time that any mention of the Cooks development has arisen. RHL sought comment from WTC on the proposal. WTC raised their concerns over vehicular access and the lack of public transport and requested that these matters be addressed.

An overriding commitment to confidentiality was sought from the presenters as they considered negotiations for the site had reached a delicate stage. Wivenhoe Town Council has not betrayed this commitment and has been standing by awaiting a public statement from Realise Health."

On 8th October, Wivenhoe Society invited Richard Warner, the CEO of RHL to a Committee meeting to discuss the project. Warner agreed to attend, but pulled out on 12th October having been asked to do so by WTC.

On 11th October The Gazette reported on the collapse of the Fire Station deal:

"Mr Gooch [landowner] said he the only explanation he had been given as to why the deal, first agreed back in 2008, was no longer supported was that it would be easier to secure planning permission at Cook's Shipyard."

The North Essex PCT will be replaced in April 2013 with a new Commissioning Board. It is not known what will happen to any projects that haven't been completed by the PCT when the new legislation comes into force.

The North Essex PCT has confirmed that no communication has been received from RHL. It is the Wivenhoe Surgery that is leading on this project.



  • edited October 2012
    To add to Jason's last point.

    There has been no correspondence either written or electronic communication
    between North Essex Primary Care Trust and Realise Health Ltd in relation to
    the new Wivenhoe Surgery proposal.
    " - FOI answer from North Essex PCT dated 11th Oct 2012

    "...the PCT are being kept informed every step of
    the way
    ,..." - email from Realise Health Ltd dated 5th Sep 2012

    There appears to be two contradicting statements here. There maybe a simple answer to it - but we'd like to hear what it is.
  • The Surgery is carrying out a "straw poll" to find out how patients currently travel to The Avenue.
  • lizliz
    edited October 2012

  • edited October 2012
    The Proposed Cooks Shipyard Health Centre Site

    (this post will be edited/ added to as more facts emerge to keep all the information in one place)


    -The location of the site is shown below in yellow in picture 1. Picture 1 is an extract from a March 2012 land registry title plan.

    The location of the proposed site in question in the Cooks Shipyard is the area adjacent to the dingy park which has been recently housing the temporary builder's site office. It is currently unbuilt upon. The location was confirmed to by Sue Cook of Realise Health in response to a query by Roger Mainwood (of this forum) on 16th October.

    Picture 1. Yellow area show potential site


    - Although the site belonged to Taylor Wimpey between 2006 and 2012, Jonathan Frank of Lexden Restorations confirmed on 17th October that
    ownership of the site has now been returned to them.

    Lexden Restorations have agreed to sell the site to be developed as a health centre subject to planning permission being obtained.

    Originally the whole Cooks
    Shipyard site was owned by a local company Lexden Restorations. They
    sold the project on to Taylor Woodrow in 2006 and Taylor Woodrow have
    now become Taylor Wimpey, who have done all the building work on the
    site thus far. Taylor Wimpey sales staff have informed at least two
    forum members that Taylor Wimpey do not possess the land in question and
    that this land belongs to the previous owner (whether this was the
    company Lexden Restorations or Jonathan Frank in person was not
    specified). Land registry searches carried out earlier this year show
    that Lexden Restorations and Jonathan Frank had retained an option to
    purchase the site.

    A Land registry search carried out in May 2012
    specified that while Taylor Wimpey held the Title Absolute for the
    land, that a restriction exists on the disposal of in favour of a charge
    held over it by Lexden Restorations.

    The following information is copied verbatim from the charges register:
    (02.12.2005)  An agreement dated 3 October 2005 made between (1) Taylor
    Woodrow     Developments Limited (2) Lexden Restorations Limited and
    (3) Jonathan Frank contains     an option to purchase the land edged
    yellow on the title plan upon the terms thereon mentioned.

    Note: copy filed.

    (09.12.2006) By a deed 3 February 2006 made between (1) Taylor Woodrow
        Developments Limited  (2) Lexden Restorations Limited and (3)
    Jonathan Frank the terms of the agreement dated 3 October 2005 referred
    to above was varied by the deletion of clause 21 thereof.

    Note: Copy filed.
    (end of extract)
    The document quoted above references picture 1 when describing a yellow edged section. It has been confirmed by Jonathan Frank that this this option has now been exercised and that they currently own the land.

    Current Planning Permission

    -The site currently has approval for a large 3 storey building with 21 parking spaces that can only be used for a retail unit (class A1) and several offices for business use (class B1). Planning permission would be required to change the use of the building to D1 before a health centre could be opened here.

    Picture 2 below shows more details of the approved office and retail unit plans and associated car parking on the site. The full details of the approved unit including elevations and floor plans are on the colchester planning site
    Picture 3 below is taken from the linked document and shows elevations
    of the approved building, to give some idea of the size and scale
    of the plans.

    Picture 2. Detail of same site showing current approved office plans from May 2012.


    Picture 3. The current approved office elevations for the site from the Colchester Planning department.


    According to
    the The Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, a Doctors' surgery would require D1 usage
    designation and a retail pharmacy would require A1 usage designation.

    existing planning permissions allow for one retail outlet (A1 usage) on
    the ground floor. The rest of the three storey building is currently
    designated as B1 business use. Although an amendment to the town and country planning in 2005
    means it may be possible to avoid the need for planning consent when
    moving between classes of the same letter group (eg B1 to B2 or B3),
    changing class from B to D would still require planning permission.

    The updated 2005 guidance on B1 business use clarifies

    54. The amended Order maintains the approach of considering whether a use is capable

    of being carried on within a residential area. All aspects of the use are considered

    against the criteria: noise, vibrations, smell, fumes, smoke, soot, ash, dust or grit. In this

    context, there will normally be no material change of use requiring planning permission

    until an intensification or change in the nature of the use is such that it would no longer

    satisfy the limitation specified in the class.

    (more to be added)

    Thank you.
  • An up to date map of the proposed site (marked in red outline) sent through from Realise Health Ltd.
  • A letter sent to Wivenhoe Town Council by Bernard Jenkin MP (dated Oct 17th)
  • edited November 2012
    Thought it worth jotting down the changes going on in the structures to
    provide NHS health care. The Wivenhoe Surgery saga is unfortunately
    caught up right in the middle of it. Although Bernard Jenkin MP
    understands that the £1.5 million * set aside for the Wivenhoe Surgery is
    secure during this transitional phase he is seeking confirmation of this
    from Government.

    [ EDIT: * There has been some confusion over the £1.5 million figure. Please see update on this from Zoe Cronin, Wivenhoe Surgery Practice Manger - ]

    At present the North East Essex PCT covers the area previously served by Colchester and Tendring Primary Care Trust.
    It holds the NHS budget for the areas of Colchester and Tendring.
    The North East Essex PCT is one of the corporate shareholders of Realise Health Ltd.

    Next year the North East Essex PCT will be abolished. At the Wivenhoe Town Council meeting last Monday
    Vaughan was reported as saying that Realise Health Ltd will not exist
    next year either. The quote attributed to her was: 'Realise Health have a
    deadline - they won't exist come the new year'. It would be good to
    have some further information on this from the councillor.

    Tomorrow (Fri 19th Oct) Bernard Jenkin MP will be meeting the head of The North East Essex PCT to discuss the Wivenhoe Surgery.

    From April next year the PCT is going to be replaced by North East Essex Clinical Commissioning.
    We are now in a transitional phase.

    In preparation for new
    arrangements to take over from 1 April 2013, the proposed new
    organisations will replace the existing PCTs and become operational in
    shadow form from 1 April 2012. They will have their own shadow Boards
    and a staff of clinicians and managers.

    North East Essex Clinical Commissioning will be a not-for profit company
    limited by guarantee to undertake commissioning work on behalf of
    patients in the Colchester and Tendring areas.

    to Bernard Jenkin's letter to Wivenhoe Town Council - "There has been
    something of a lack of hard information recently, since there has been a
    change of management at NHS North Essex."
  • Statement recieved from Jonathan Frank of Lexden Restorations about ownership of the Cooks Shipyard site.

    Text from PDF copied below for those that might have trouble with attachment:

    17th October 2012
    Statement in response to requests about the ownership of the commercial site at
    Cooks Shipyard, Wivenhoe.

    Following the closure of the Cooks Shipyard and the site having been repossessed by
    National Westminster Bank, Lexden Restorations purchased the site and set about
    working with the community to produce a sustainable and sympathetic development that
    would enhance and blend with the surrounding Conservation Area.

    This was always going to be an emotive site due to it location. However we always argued
    that as a previously-developed brown-field site and with national and local planning policy
    focused on the redevelopment of such sites, it was going to be developed, it was just a
    question of how and by whom and that as a local company with an unrivaled reputation for
    the quality of our developments we would produce a far better scheme than one of the
    National Builders who were also trying to buy the site.

    Despite working with the Wivenhoe Town Council and a specially formed local pressure
    group to design a scheme that took into consideration many of the community’s
    aspirations, there was a vociferous minority that fought a bitter and personal campaign
    against the development arguing unrealistically and often for altruistic reasons that the site
    should be an area of open space.

    Having first been scrutinised by the Planning Inspectorate as well as Colchester Borough
    Council, planning consent was granted for our scheme. The only change being the
    deletion of a Fish Restaurant that had been proposed next to the wet dock (a 1000
    signature petition was presented to the planning committee by objectors who had scared
    the population of Wivenhoe into thinking that we were proposing a 300 seat restaurant,
    based on a totally erroneous calculation of how many people could fit into the entire area
    allocated to the restaurant, without taking into consideration toilets, kitchens, stores,
    lobbies etc).

    Having been personally abused and threatened by some members of the community and
    having fought against misinformation and in some case lies, I took the difficult decision to
    sell the site as it was clear that the fact that I lived locally meant that this was likely to

    The scheme had been very carefully thought through, the larger buildings around the wet
    dock had been designed to follow the original building forms with smaller properties at the
    back of the site close to St John’s and Anglesea Road. As well as being of an extremely
    high architectural quality, a palette of locally found materials was also proposed.

    As with all new development the devil is in the detail and as soon as Taylor Woodrow
    started developing the site many, many Wivenhoe residents expressed to me how sad
    they were that Lexden Restorations were not developing it. Interestingly, many expressed
    their regret that there was not a restaurant in the development!

    Taylor Wimpey then obtained planning consent to substantially change phases two and
    three, from that which we had designed and so the completed scheme that you see today
    is not the one that we designed and many of the carefully detailed elements have been

    At the time of our application we included a mix of uses rather than purely residential. At
    that time there was a lot of publicity about home working and the need for adaptable
    accommodation. We designed and named a new type of home: ‘polyfunctional houses’
    that were designed with ground floor accommodation that could be used as commercial
    space or as residential. This adaptability meant that, depending upon the owner, the use
    could changed and the design of the building did not preclude such uses. Some of these
    units were built in the early phase and are now used as gallery studio space; in others that
    space is used for residential purposes, but the external and internal design allows for

    As well as the polyfunctional houses, we also designed the ground floor of some of the
    buildings around the wet dock to have commercial use. As the central nodal point in the
    development, this was the obvious place to locate these and it was hoped that businesses
    could be attracted to the site.

    Adjacent to the Environment Agency Flood Barrier Building we included a commercial
    building that was designed to mirror the sail lofts at Tollesbury. These buildings were to be
    timber frame, weather-boarded and of a simple but strong local design, they served to
    shield the views of what in our opinion was the rather ugly barrier building.

    In a subsequent redesign of the development, Taylor Wimpey decided that they wanted to
    relocate this commercial building and it was moved to a waterfront location. A move that I
    could not understand as it was a huge 16.75 metre high building (taller than the red
    buildings around the wet dock) in that section of the waterfront where the original design
    brief sought to have lower smaller scale houses that looked like those found elsewhere on
    the old quayside (close to the Rose and Crown).

    When we sold the site to Taylor Woodrow (now Taylor Wimpey) they expressed doubt
    about the viability and demand for commercial space in Wivenhoe and particularly in that
    location. We therefore agreed that if they found that there was no demand for commercial
    space they could pass the area concerned back to us, for us to develop or re-plan.
    Having now completed the development and having found that despite prolonged and
    intensive marketing there has been very limited demand shown for the commercial
    elements. Taylor Wimpey have in the past few weeks, transferred the area of land edged
    red on the attached site plan, back to us.

    Some months ago in the knowledge that this transfer back was going to happen, I met with
    Wivenhoe Town Council and Colchester Borough Council’s Planning Department to
    discuss possible options for this site. I explained that the current economic climate meant
    that finding a viable commercial use was unlikely and I invited them to comment on some
    sketch proposals which ranged from adapting the large block that Taylor Wimpey had
    planning consent for into flats with a restaurant on the ground floor to simply constructing
    just three houses (which were as per the original designs that we obtained planning
    consent for in 2005).

    Both the Town Council and the Planners said that their preferred use was commercial and
    I was advised to submit an application to change the ground floor of the proposed building
    from A1 retail use to A3 restaurant use. Following this feedback I instructed architects to
    prepare a planning application which is finished and ready to submit.

    Whilst this application was being prepared I was approached by a planning consultant who
    had heard that the site was going back into my ownership. He asked if I would consider
    selling it for a new doctors’ surgery/health centre. As this use was a commercial use (albeit
    requiring a change of use from A1/B1 to D2) and one that would generate similar traffic
    flows to the consented building and as both the Town Council and the Planning Officers
    had said that they wanted a commercial use, I agreed to sell the site
  • edited October 2012

  • edited October 2012
    oops transferred to other thread sorry - please delete this jason et al if possible - o no added another this and above i meant

  • edited November 2012

    The NHS came up with plans for a new Medical Centre in Wivenhoe

    DECEMBER 2008
    PLANS for a proposed new medical centre in Wivenhoe go on
    public show as part of a 12-week public information and listening
    exercise being held by NHS North East Essex. Following an extensive land search, a site adjacent to the fire
    station in Colchester Road was found to be the only viable option for
    the new medical centre. It was anticipated that a planning application would be submitted by the
    end of the year, with the new centre operational by October 2010.
    These plans were postponed.

    SUMMER 2011

    proposals were put on hold when the Government announced it would be
    making radical changes to the NHS. NHS North East Essex would not
    confirm if the GP surgery and pharmacy would be built next to the fire
    station in Colchester Road, Wivenhoe.

    FEBRUARY 2012

    £1.5m of funding* for a new Health Centre for Wivenhoe was
    signed off by North Essex Primary Care Trust on 6th February to build a new Health
    on the preferred site beside the Fire Station. The GP's appointed
    contractor Realise Health Ltd. draw up architectural plans and
    negotiations are resumed with the landowner of the site Mr Charles

    [ EDIT: * There has been some confusion over the £1.5 million
    figure. Please see update on this from Zoe Cronin, Wivenhoe Surgery
    Practice Manger
    - ]

    Although not absolutely ideal this site is in general favour with GPs, the Town Council, Borough Councillors, the local MP, and most importantly residents. Plans are progressed without any major dissent.

    JULY 2012

    Realise Health Ltd become aware that
    the owner of a remaining plot of land on the Cook's Shipyard
    development is looking to sell his land. It is owned not by Taylor
    Wimpey, who are the main developers there, but by Jonathan Frank of
    Lexden Restorations. Wivenhoe Town Council have been aware of this plot
    of land coming available too and have been in discussion with Jonathan
    Frank advising him about their preferred use. They recommend
    predominantly commercial units.

    Realise Health Ltd. at some point
    in July make an agreement with Jonathan Frank to buy the land, subject
    to planning permission. Mr Gooch, owner of the fire station site, claims
    in an interview with the Gazette on Oct 12th that he was left
    completely in the dark about this move. In an email on 5th Sep from
    Realise Health Ltd's Richard Warner confirmed that "Charles Gooch has
    been made aware of our plans."

    AUGUST 15th

    Health Ltd request a private meeting with Wivenhoe Town Council to
    announce the switch from the fire station site to the Cooks site. WTC
    agree to the secret meeting and agree to remain silent on the matter
    until Realise Health Ltd are ready to make an announcement. The reason
    for the request of silence is given that the negotiations are at a
    delicate stage and any public announcement would jeapordise them. At the
    meeting RHL sought comment from WTC on the proposal. WTC raised their
    over vehicular access and the lack of public transport and requested
    these matters be addressed. They also agreed to preparing a joint press
    release with RHL (still unpublished) which gave the impression of
    broadly welcoming the new proposal. It began with the line "There is
    promising news on the Wivenhoe Health Centre development!" During this
    time, and right up until Oct 3rd, all three Borough councillors for the
    Wivenhoe wards, and County Councillor Julie Young, say they were unaware
    that a switch of sites was in prospect. 


    is when Bernard Jenkin MP says he was first made aware of the switch of
    sites. This was in a conversation with Sheila Bremner the then Chief
    Executive of NHS North East Essex. He too was told to keep his silence
    while negotiations between Realise Health Ltd and Jonathan Frank
    This involved a meeting between the planners and RHL on
    Thursday 30th August, and the prospect of an agreement on the contract
    for land purchase on Fri 31st August. It has been reported in the press
    subsequently that an agreement has been made, subject to planning
    permission. There is some doubt as to whether an exchange of contract
    has happened though. According to the original time table set out by RHL
    in emails this exchange of contract was to have been due on 28th Sept.
    Because the joint WTC/RHL press release has never been issued there is a
    question mark over whether the contract has been exchanged or not.

    SEPTEMBER 17th
    Town Council hold their monthly meeting. A point is reached in the
    meeting where the council say they want to go into private session. Cllr
    Brian Sinclaire is heard to say that it is  a touchy subject. Reporter
    Jason Cobb, and Borough Cllr Steve Ford are asked to leave the building.
    This closed session was to discuss further the Medical Centre being
    switched to the Cooks site. When the September minutes appear on WTC's
    website the only mention of the Medical Centre was that there was
    nothing further to report. No mention is made of a closed session taking

    Jason Cobb breaks the news of the
    switch of sites on the Wivenhoe Forum. He had been tipped off by County
    Cllr Julie Young, who had heard from Colchester Planning of the switch.
    An email was passed to Jason containing the WTC/Realise Health Ltd press
    release which had been signed off by both parties, but had not been
    published. News spreads around the town and voices of protest are
    raised on the Wivenhoe Forum. Very little support is voiced in favour of this new proposal, with many
    pointing out that the site has many problems of acessability and that
    the narrow streets of lower Wivenhoe cannot take any further increase in

    Wivenhoe Town Council become aware of this
    and issue a statement on their website explaining the situation from
    their perspective. The wording is not the same as the press release that
    was signed off by them and Realise Health Ltd. Shortly after this, as
    press reports appear and more disquiet is expressed, WTC announce a
    public meeting on October 30th at the William Loveless Hall.
    Representatives of Realise Health Ltd, The Surgery, and the Primary Care
    Trust will be there. Bernard Jenkin MP says he will be there too if
    Parliamentary matters don't prevent that.

    Town Council normal monthly meeting is packed with residents voicing
    their concerns about the siting of the medical centre at Cooks Shipyard.
    WTC say their concerns are the same as the ones the residents have.
    They propose a couple of alternative sites. The Philip Road Centre, and
    the old police houses site next to the William Loveless Hall which the
    council now own. They also say they would like to see if the fire
    station site idea can be revived.

    19th OCTOBER
    A letter from Bernard Jenkin MP
    is received by WTC and borough and County Councillors. He says he was not aware, until Monday 17th October, that the new GP
    surgery project had effectively been handed over to the Wivenhoe GP
    surgery in partnership with a consultancy (by which we must assume he
    means Realise Health Ltd).
    He does however confirm that the new Chief
    Executive of NHS North Essex, Andrew Pike, had told him that funding
    for the new health centre remains in place. He will be clarifying with
    Government though how long this commitment willl last and whether any of
    the changes in the NHS are likely to affect it. He thinks they won't.
  • edited October 2012
    KEY DATES contd.

    21st OCTOBER
    Bernard Jenkin MP meets Wivenhoe residents in a room at the William Loveless Hall to discuss what he knows about the Cook's site proposal. Audio of the meeting plus a transcript of key points raised here:

    22nd OCTOBER
    An email is received from Realise Health Ltd. to a question raised by a Wivenhoe Forum contributor. It gives information about the stage that has been reached with the proposal to build the Medical Cente at the Cook's Shipyard site.

    "RHL have agreed a
    draft heads of terms with the vendor, subject to obtaining planning permission,
    so a long way off any legal agreement. And even if RHL had signed a legal
    contract, the site would still have reverted to Lexden* had we not been
    granted planning."
    - Sue Cook (PA to Realise Health Ltd's CEO)

    * Lexden refers to the company Lexden Restorations who currently own the plot of land in question.
    More info here:

    23rd OCTOBER
    Realise Halth Ltd issue, via the Wivenhoe Forum, their first public statement on the Cook's site proposal.
    They ask for it to be circulated before the October 30th public meeting.
    It is a lengthy and detailed anlaysis by the CEO Richard Warner. He reveals -
    Today we are in a very different place from our cautiously optimistic
    position based on the initial indications we had received from the
  • Good job creating that time line of key events Roger! We need to be taking as clear a picture as possible into the public meeting next week.

  • edited October 2012
    Roger thanks for the really detailed and clear timeline. This afternoon I recalled that Marika had suggested we use an online spreadsheet, as a useful way to record and track events. 

    I've copied your text into a Google document which anyone can view using this link .It may help when we need to start cross referencing events.

    Roger, if you are minded to keep the list of events updated let me know and I'll give you editing rights to the document.

  • Unfortunately it appears Google Documents is sometimes incompatible with, Sky and Blueyonder user accounts (they are all re-badged Google applications), so the cunning plan to use the system to share information is not going to work.

    Perhaps Skydrive may be a little more compatible the link below is for the document on Skydrive:

    If that doesn't work I'll get my coat and wait for the Cloud to be invented;-)

  • I forgot about the FACTS thread!
    I have made up the spreadsheet, linking most cells with their source or forum posts. See it here
  • Given the lack of consultation I decided to do some door knocking Sunday afternoon visiting Heath road, Broomfield crescent and Tower road asking residents to indicate their preferences for the new health centre. Although this is a small sample only 1 person had Cooks Shipyard as their first preference, the clear majority was for the Fire station with Cedrics a strong second.

  • Thanks to Labour Councillor Julie for being so proactive and taking a first practical step towards democratic discussion through the open questioning of public preferences
  • edited October 2012
    I've just had this statement from Realise Health Ltd's CEO Richard Warner ahead of the public meeting on October 30th. His PA, Sue Cook, wrote "Richard has asked me to send this statement to you for general circulation. I hope it answers more questions than it poses."

    It came to me as quite a large pdf file which I'm having trouble loading on the Forum. So instead I'm going to paste the contents in here. But it will have to be in several postings as there is a word count limit to every post and this is a lengthy document.


    Statement from Realise Health prior to the Public Meeting on 30th October 2012
    Approach made to Jane Ringland, the Wivenhoe Practice Manager at the time, about the Cedric’s site. Discussion with Tesco about a joint scheme, but to no avail. I believe the site sold for speculative residential development but has since reverted to the Bank.
    All LIFTCos were given exclusivity for health infrastructure projects within their Primary Care Trust (PCT) boundary. LIFT programmes were divided into tranches – Wivenhoe fell into the 2nd tranche so there was no longer an opportunity to develop a scheme until the 1st tranche buildings had been completed.
    The Government’s Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) initiative was launched in 2003, details of which can be found on the Realise Health (RHL) website. RHL is the NE Essex LIFT Company. I joined RHL as their General Manager (aka CEO).
    Two significant events this year: we agreed terms on the fire-station site and the NHS White Paper (now the Health and Social Care Act) put a stop to many similar developments largely because a) nobody really knew who would be signing off business cases, and b) the Banks had their own crisis and were unable to lend.
    The future structure of the NHS has become clearer, the Practice business case has been revised, political pressure applied and in February we were given the green light to move ahead, albeit within revised parameters. With emphasis on NHS savings, the size of the scheme had to be reduced to reflect the rental charge which the NHS was prepared to pay. The Practice has chosen to continue with RHL as their project managers and it is our job to deliver a scheme on their behalf.
    It may be helpful to summarise how funding has worked in the past within this specialised industry. Briefly, money is raised by investors through their traditional funding sources to cover development work from start to finish, including interim funding prior to construction. The loan is crystallised once the rent has been signed off by the District Valuer (DV) on behalf of the NHS body, currently the PCT. Once that is done, the mortgage or loan payments are matched against the rent. If the DV awards a lesser rent, that is the developer’s risk, as is any rise in actual costs or how much is paid for the land. All legal agreements are finalised prior to commencement of work on site and only in exceptional circumstances will further rent be awarded if costs increase.


    It is the Practice which signs a lease with the developer/investor and their rent is reimbursed by the PCT. PCTs are due to be abolished on 1st April next year and there is uncertainty over who will take over the responsibility for reimbursement.
    Continuing the time line, following the PCT ‘green light’ we revisited the previous fire-station location but the owner felt the terms we had agreed two and a half years beforehand were ‘strategically flawed’. This was a reasonable response because we had to offer a redesigned proposal on the basis of the reduced size. Whilst waiting to hear back on the vendor’s proposed terms, we revisited all the various alternative site options we had considered before. We were obliged to do this anyway because if planners receive an application for a site on the edge of the settlement it has to include information to demonstrate why sites within the settlement are not available.
    The following is a summary of sites researched:
    1. Farm land surrounding Wivenhoe (i.e. outside the settlement boundary) is owned by either the Gooch or Bowers families. We approached the latter about land at Keelars Lane to no avail. Mr Gooch previously agreed in principle to sell an acre adjoining the fire station site.
    2. ‘41 acres’, access from Croquet Gardens – the owners have shown willingness to engage but any mixed development proposal in this location would take a long time to come forward
    3. Phillips Rd Community Centre – an old Victorian school on 0.65 acres owned by ECC currently used for Children’s Support Services – very poor access and not currently available
    4. 0.73 acres by Millfields School – Jenny Moody Properties wished to purchase this piece of land from Elmstead Parish Council. The Town Council’s opposition to any development on this piece of land remains unchanged
    5. 0.55 acres Cedric’s Garage site – serious decontamination issues, high cost and difficulty engaging with the owners (RBS).
    6. 0.53 acres between The Cross and Rectory Rd, now being developed for residential use
    7. Owner’s garden at 13 The Avenue – not really appropriate, but kindly offered
    8. Pasture Land at Wivenhoe Cross, neither 7) nor 8) with any more than the remotest possibility of planning approval
    9. 0.33 acres Cooks Shipyard – has commercial and retail use but a change to D1 use (surgery) will be in particular subject to approval of transport and traffic management plans
    10. 0.254 acres old Police Houses, purchased by the Town Council for “much needed family housing in the Town”, and may be too small to accommodate a surgery development.

    We were first introduced to the Cooks Shipyard site (no.9) in June and over the coming weeks agreed terms on a potential deal which would be subject to achieving planning consent. We arranged a meeting on the 15th August with the Town Council (TC) to explain the situation and, as agreed with the TC, notified Mr Gooch of our plans the following day, stating that should the situation change and we wished to revert to discussions relating to his land, we would be in touch with him again. We also decided at the time that it would be better if we researched the access issue further before going public so that at least when questions were asked we would have answers. (The Practice is currently in the process of conducting a travel audit to feed back to our planning consultants and all design and legal discussions are on hold until the outcome of the survey data is known)
    Following the TC meeting we agreed a statement to be published on their website which stated clearly that members would need clear reassurances that access and traffic management issues were to be resolved satisfactorily. We had already employed a planning consultant familiar with Wivenhoe who took advice from specialists in transport and traffic assessment issues and informed us that they were confident that they would be able to demonstrate an acceptable traffic scenario. This was also on the basis that our early communication with Essex County Council Highways revealed that the principle of the development would be ‘ok from the highway users’ point of view’, but only as long as there was no intensification in use of the surrounding roads by customers, staff, or service vehicles, bearing in mind they had already consented to the site being acceptable for commercial and retail use.
    Our first meeting with the planners was encouraging, and their notes from the meeting stated that in principle the loss of commercial space and the erection of a surgery building and pharmacy would be acceptable. They went on to say that vehicle movements and parking provision would be fundamental issues and they suspected that even if our proposal satisfied the highway authority, residents might take a different view. There had been a transport and traffic assessment submitted with the planning application for commercial and retail use, which was acceptable. Initially we took the view that the traffic impact of use for a surgery would be no worse than the commercial and retail use for which the planning and highways authorities had already given consent.
    Today we are in a very different place from our cautiously optimistic position based on the initial indications we had received from the authorities. We are all agreed on the two fundamental issues, that the Wivenhoe Community needs a new surgery and that access to the Cooks Shipyard site is not ideal, whichever entry road you take.
    The way forward possibly comes down to what is regarded as acceptable planning use for the remaining site at Cooks Shipyard. The authorities have stated they do not want to see more luxury dwellings erected there, and various uses have been discussed, from restaurant to retail, commercial offices to medical, indeed anything but residential it would seem. So from our perspective this is an ‘available site’ in planning terms for the surgery, subject to being able to resolve the access issue, which would be the same for any non-residential use. There must be acceptable access for everyone where people work and the public visit, whether they are young and healthy, disabled or infirm.


    There is also a funding issue which I suspect is why the site has reverted to Lexden, Taylor Wimpey presumably not wishing to speculate on finding tenants for an expensive new commercial building. Tenants would need to be found who are able to pay commercial rents. I’m not sure small craft units would complete the financial circle here, although I can certainly see such occupancy fitting very well in a healthy living centre mixed use development, something we would be more than happy to talk about with the Community.
    For the time being, if the planners now state that Cooks is not in their view ‘an available site’ for the surgery development within the settlement boundary, we will need to revisit our list.
    I hope this helps prepare everyone for the meeting on the 30th. I look forward to meeting those of you who would like to know more about aspects of the business I have been in since 1997. Much has changed in the NHS over the years but I have been involved in the delivery of more than a dozen such buildings across the UK, from Bedford to Baddow, Wolverhampton to Braintree, all with their own difficulties to overcome, site related or otherwise. It will be an immense pleasure to find a way forward to doing the same for the people of Wivenhoe although I recognise that there are serious concerns to be addressed.
    I sincerely hope the meeting will be more about discussing how we might solve the access problem rather than adopting the more intransigent view that this is quite simply an impossible task. No one challenges the urgent need for a new surgery in Wivenhoe and there are currently very few situations elsewhere where the NHS is prepared to support and provide the financial commitments for a new development of this kind. If it is possible, a way forward needs to be found to take this opportunity to bring these benefits to the Wivenhoe community.
    Richard Warner
    CEO Realise Health Ltd
  • The Practice has kindly replied to my queries, referring me to the Realise Heakth statement and explaining that a travel audit (including staff) is in progress and all design and legal discussions are on hold until the data is known.
  • A further clarification from Richard Warner, CEO of Realise Health Ltd.
    I had asked two questions.

    One concerned a paragraph in his statement that he gave on Oct 23rd

    It was this paragraph:
    "There is also a funding issue which I suspect is why the site has
    reverted to Lexden, Taylor Wimpey presumably not wishing to speculate on
    finding tenants for an expensive new commercial building. Tenants would
    need to be found who are able to pay commercial rents. I’m not sure
    small craft units would complete the financial circle here, although I
    can certainly see such occupancy fitting very well in a healthy living
    centre mixed use development, something we would be more than happy to
    talk about with the Community."

    So my question was simply what is a  "healthy living centre" ?

    My second question was to do with the pharmacy.

    Are the plans for a pharmacy attached to the Medical Centre at Cooks? If there
    are is it a retail outlet as well (like the current Boots in Vine Parade) or is
    it just purely for giving out prescriptions?

    Sue Cook, PA to Richard Warner has sent this reply back:

    response to your questions –


    believe the first healthy living centre was the one at Bromley by Bow set up in
    1984. Leaving aside the obvious differences between the two areas, I simply
    mentioned it to demonstrate a willingness to talk about other uses which might
    combine with the Doctors’ surgery to make this more of a community focal point.


    would like to discuss what the people of Wivenhoe might like included in the
    building. I used the word ‘intransigent’ because if those attending the meeting
    are simply there to say that under no circumstances do they want a medical
    building of any description at the Cooks Shipyard site, then presumably we will
    have no opportunity for a discussion about other uses.


    issue of whether or not we will be able include a pharmacy in the development
    will be a matter for the local Pharmaceutical Services committee and certainly
    we are a long way off agreeing size and content. The District Valuer expects
    developers to add value to such schemes thereby bringing less pressure on the
    level of rent reimbursed by the PCT, never mind the benefit to patients by
    having a dispensing pharmacist on site.”


  • edited October 2012

    We know very little about what the recent problem has been with aquiring
    the land owned by Mr Gooch next to the fire station. Wivenhoe Town
    Council say they have invited him to the public meeting on the 30th Oct,
    and if he comes we may get some clarification then.

    In the
    meantime all we have to go on are some general phrases, and some
    rumours. Here they are. If anyone knows anything else then please add...

    REASON 1 - The new smaller design of the health centre meant it was now a "strategically flawed" offer.

    Warner, CEO of Realise Health  Ltd., refers in his statement of Oct 23rd
    to Mr Gooch saying the terms agreed two and half years ago were now ‘strategically flawed’. Richard
    Warner thought this a reasonable response by Mr Gooch as the new
    building plans they had to submit had to be reduced in size.
    We can read all sorts of things into what "strategically flawed" means, but that's all we have to go on at the moment.

    REASON 2 - Planning permission will be easier to obtain at the Cook's site than at the site next to the Fire Station.

    This was the reason reported in the Gazette article of 11th October
    Mr Gooch said the only explanation he had been given as to why the
    deal, first agreed back in 2008, was no longer supported was that it
    would be easier to secure planning permission at Cook’s Shipyard."

    REASON 3 - Rumours

    Jenkin MP at an informal meeting with residents at the Wyvern room on
    21st Oct was asked if he knew why the negotiations with Mr Gooch had
    apparently ran into the sand.

    BJ: The answer is I don't know. I
    have my suspicions, but it is only speculation. I don't think I'd be
    justified in speculating in public. But it is well known that Mr Gooch
    feels that the land at the top of the village is appropriate for housing
    development and he sees the possibility of the surgery as a pre-cursor
    to housing development on that site, and my guess is it is something to
    do with that....I hope that these two issues can be separated.

    EDIT: At the October 3Oth public meeting Mr Gooch was present, and he put an
    end to that speculation. When asked about it he said that there was no
    truth in the rumour being put about that he was linking the surgery to
    housing development.

    Realise Health Ld's statement reveals that
    when they notified Mr Gooch of their decision
    to switch to the Cook's site they didn't shut the door on him. Wivenhoe
    Town Council were informed by Realise Health Ltd at a closed meeting in
    August that "should the situation change and we wished to revert to
    discussions relating to his land, we would be in touch with him again." 
    County Cllr Julie Young has told us that Mr Gooch has said the offer of his land is still there.
    Bernard Jenkin at the meeting on October 21st said, having two sites to bargain about makes the Surgery's position stronger.
    Wivenhoe Town Council has asked for the deal with Mr Gooch to be looked at again.
    In 2008 Sheila Bremner, Chief Executive of NHS North Essex, described the fire station site as
    "the only viable option"

    EDIT: At the October 30th public meeting at the William Loveless Hall, Mr Gooch again said his land was "in principle" still available to be sold.
  • edited October 2012

    Apart from Cook's Shipyard and next to the fire station, where else has been proposed to site the new medical centre? A recent addition, but a front runner, on the alternative sites list are the old police houses next to the William Loveless Hall.
    From February of this year Wivenhoe Town Council has had  involvement with that site which was discussed on the Forum here:

    So worth taking a look at what we do and don't know about that proposal as a site for the new Medical Centre.

    was first put forward by members of Wivenhoe Town Council at their last
    meeting on 15th Oct. A vote in favour was taken and although not all
    hands went up, a majority did, and the novel proposal generated headlines in the local press.

    The ownership of the site was described by Tom on the Forum back in February -  "Wivenhoe Town Council has borrowed the purchase money and rental income will service that
    loan until such time as it's possible to do something bold."

    Brian Sinclaire reported at the WTC meeting that he had asked the WTC
    groundsman to measure the site at Cooks Shipyard and the site of the Old
    Police Houses to compare them. He reported back that the Old Police
    Houses were slightly larger in area.

    Realise Health Ltd's
    Richard Warner's view on the proposal (contained in his statement to
    the Wivenhoe Forum of October 23rd) was this:

    0.254 acres old Police Houses, purchased by the Town Council for
    “much needed family housing in the Town”, and may be too small to
    accommodate a surgery development.
    - Realise Health Ltd.

    re. Richard Warner's reference to "much needed family housing".
    is true that this was mentioned on the WTC website, but only on
    a short term basis.
    "This is a wonderful opportunity to secure a bright future for the site.
    An opportunity to do something that will benefit the people of Wivenhoe
    and meet their expectations. In the immediate term, the properties will
    enable the Council to provide much needed family housing in the town."

    The long term plans for the site were explained by
    WTC in this press article.

    course the original long term hopes for this site never had a medical
    centre in mind. Back in February, when WTC aquired the site, everyone
    was assuming that the medical centre was to be built next to the fire
    station. So future ideas for the old police station were geared to
    looking at things like a new community centre for Wivenhoe. But that was
    then. A few months on and everything has changed with regard to the
    medical centre. So maybe the time to "do something bold" with that site
    has arrived.

    Some questions have been raised about whether any tenants of the police houses would have the right to buy after a certain number of years.

    This was from the minutes of  the May AGM of Wivenhoe Town Council:

    "Cllr. Needham reported on the concern re the
    ‘Right to Buy’ and that it should be clearly recorded that the
    properties had been purchased with a view to demolition in the future to
    provide space for either an extension to the William Loveless Hall or a
    new CommunityBuilding."

    Legal advice has been sought on the Right to Buy issue, and in June the Town Clerk confirmed that there is a get out clause:

    “Any residents have
    the Right to Buy after five years of living in the houses. Demolition notices
    can be served though.”

    So, a lot more questions and a lot more answers are
    needed before anyone can give a proper answer as to whether this site is
    appropriate. Certainly from an access point of view it has a lot going
    for it. And it would also mean that WTC would have more of a control over matters. At the moment they point out that "The role of Wivenhoe Town Council is restricted to listening to any proposals and offering comment in return."  It would be good  to hear from the GPs at the meeting on Oct
    30th as to what they think of the idea.
  • lizliz
    edited October 2012
    This link gives a very clear insight into the current transition period and final changeover from Primary Care Trusts to other bodies.
    Also an earlier document:
  • edited October 2012

    lot of unanswered questions over this site. Below is a gathering
    together of the little that we know. If anyone can add to this please

    Bernard Jenkin MP, at an informal meeting with residents at the Wyvern room on 21st Oct, said:
    problem with the Cedrics Garage site is that it will get planning
    permission for housing so it is a very valuable site, and the more you
    pay for the site the less you have to invest for the building of the
    general practice."

    Realise Health Ltd's Richard Warner said in his statement of Oct 23rd:
    "0.55 acres Cedric’s Garage site – serious decontamination issues, high cost and difficulty engaging with the owners (RBS)."

    Cllr Brian Sinclaire on this thread on Oct 3rd said:
    "Should it have been at Cedrics.  In my view, always yes, but once
    that site had planning permission for residential it went beyond
    affordability we are told.  WTC tried but couldn't stop that residential
    planning consent.(Wish the Co Op would buy it!)"

    Cllr. Brian Sinclaire was reported as saying at the Wivenhoe Town Council meeting on Oct 15th.:
    “I ‘heard’ that the Co-op is
    interested in purchasing Cedric’s. I found out that they are. I went to
    see the Practice Manager at the surgery and asked about a partnership
    with the Co-op. I was told that it wouldn’t work.”

    Clann (on another thread - wondered if:
    "Planning permission for houses on Cedric's site has expired so the land
    price might not be prohibitive, even allowing for decontamination."

    Councillor Julie Young met with Sue Jackson Borough Planner and Adam
    Garland ECC Highways officer in Wivenhoe on Oct 15th. She reported that:
    "We talked about other sites and we concluded that the Cedrics site would be best."

    In 2006 Essex County Council's Area Highways manager's concluding remarks for recommending the refusal
    of an application to build 24 residential, and 2 shop units on the
    Cedrics site read:

    "The HA continues to be concerned at .....the
    loss of opportunity for addressing the demonstrable need for improved
    community facilities for health care that would result from these

    It would also be good to know just what the decontamination issues are
    with the Cedrics site. Richard Warner of Realise Health Ltd talks of "serious decontamination issues"
    but isn't specific about what they are. There is an assumption that this
    would be a high cost. But without knowing what we are talking about
    it's hard to know for certain if this is the case.

    The issue is
    assumed to be the underground storage tanks that were used for
    the garage's petrol. Their removal is regulated by the local petroleum
    enforcement authority. I don't know whether there is any knowledge about
    the state of these storage tanks. If they have not already deteriorated
    and been leaking then the problem is at least confined to their safe
    There are guidelines for procedure on all this here:

    "The Agencies are particularly concerned about the removal and disposal of the remaining product in the
    tanks and pipelines. All product and tank bottoms must be removed and disposed of correctly.
    Once this has been carried out, the risk of pollution is much less, as the pollution matter has been removed."

    [Edit] On OCTOBER 29th an answer from Realise Health Ltd was received expanding on what they had said earlier about the Cedrics site. (See posting 7 down from here):

  • I was once told ( maybe heresay of course) 500k to dispose of tanks.
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