Doubts Over Affordable Homes for North-East NHS Workers

Plans to build an excess of 100 homes in the grounds of what is considered the flagship hospital of the North East region are set to be rejected, with the authorities concerned about the loss of trees and green space.

NHS Grampian had previously indicated plans to build homes for NHS, emergency service staff and teachers at Foresterhill Court in Aberdeen, with a view to recruiting such workers to the region.

But planning chiefs at Aberdeen City Council have recommended the application be refused planning permission.

A report to councillors says the decision is based on a potential loss of trees, green space and the lack of cycling and walking options.

“The proposed development… results in the loss of valuable and valued areas of open space, that in turn will have an adverse impact upon the character and amenity of the surrounding area,” the report asserts.

But numerous experts and prominent individuals in the region are seemingly incredulous that the needs of key workers in the area are not being adequately taken into consideration.

North East Tory MSP Peter Chapman has commented on the issue, indicating his support for creating affordable homes for NHS staff.

“At a time when the area desperately needs accommodation for key workers such as nurses and carers, any new housing options should be welcomed with open arms.”

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman concurred with the views of the MP, and called on the plan to be reassessed considering the specific requirements of the local population.

“It is no secret the high cost of living in Aberdeen is having an impact on our ability to recruit and retain staff. This, in turn, is having an impact on our ability to properly serve the health needs of the local population. This project – which will provide affordable accommodation for key workers – offers a potential solution to this problem. Both NHS Grampian and Grampian Housing Association have written directly to elected members to outline our position. We hope they will consider this information carefully prior to their meeting next week.”

Director of business development at Grampian Housing Association, Craig Stirrat, was also strongly critical of the decision, suggesting that the verdict showed a distinct lack of foresight.

“It is extremely disappointing that Aberdeen City Council’s planning officers are recommending refusal of our joint development with NHS Grampian at Foresterhill Court. In particular, the development would help NHS Grampian address its staffing shortage which is linked to the lack of affordable housing within the city for key workers.”


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