RMBC tried to sting NHS for almost £250,000! Part Three

Undeterred Don enquired further:

Sent: Wednesday, 5 October 2011, 10:52
Subject: YOUR LETTER REF: BJ/JF

Dear Mr James,

Thank you for your prompt and very courteous letter of 2011.09.22, ref: BJ/JF, which I received in response to my conversation with your secretary Julie when I recently had a series of very negative patient experiences at Rotherham District General Hospital.

I am most grateful to Julie for taking the time to professionally and very sympathetically listen to my concerns on the day, and to you for the manner in which you have responded by letter to the concerns that Julie passed on to you.

You state in the second paragraph of your letter: “Unfortunately the Trust is unable to obtain planning permission from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to extend the number of parking spaces available at the Hospital. Your comments have however been passed to the Estates department for their information”.

Since receiving your letter I have researched and obtained the following information from the RMBC website:

1. Application for Outline Planning Permission for Staff Surface Car Park to be developed with 2 Additional Storeys

http://roam.rotherham.gov.uk/PDF/PlanningPDF/RB2009-0455.pdf

2. Agenda and Minutes of RMBC Planning Board Meeting, 26 November 2009

http://moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=290&MID=7562#AI45177

3. Minutes of RMBC Planning Board Meeting, 26 November 2009

http://moderngov.rotherham.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=7451&T=11

Here is part of Item T95 of the above document:

T95. OUTLINE APPLICATION FOR MULTI-STOREY CAR PARK

AT ROTHERHAM GENERAL HOSPITAL, MOORGATE ROAD, MOORGATE

FOR ROTHERHAM NHS FOUNDATION TRUST (RB2009/0455)

 Consideration was given to a report by the Director of Planning and Regeneration Service, which detailed the above application for outline planning permission.

 Resolved:- (1) That the Council enter into an agreement with the applicant under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the purposes of ensuring the provision of funding to cover the costs of consultation and any subsequent implementation of a residents’ parking scheme and/or associated or alternative parking restrictions.

(2) That, upon the satisfactory conclusion of such an agreement, the Council grant permission for the reasons adopted by Members at the meeting and subject to the following conditions:-

You may, like me, appreciate that the Council minutes appear to show that RMBC have indeed granted outline planning permission for a multi-story car park which then appears to contradict the statement in your letter: “Unfortunately the Trust is unable to obtain planning permission from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to extend the number of parking spaces available at the Hospital. Your comments have however been passed to the Estates department for their information”.

I would very much appreciate if you are able to explain to me that which at first view appears a paradox and how two such apparently contradictory statements about the same RDGH car parking can satisfactorily align together.

Did the fact that RMBC were seeking to obtain an agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the purposes of ensuring the provision of funding to cover the costs of consultation and any subsequent implementation of a residents’ parking scheme and/or associated or alternative parking restrictions have any bearing on RDGH decision making on whether or not to proceed with extensions to the car parking?

Please will you confirm what potential funding costs would have been incurred by RDGH if they had entered into a Section 106 Agreement with RMBC.

I would be grateful for any further information or explanation you are able to give me in this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Donald H. Buxton

RMBC tried to sting NHS for almost £250,000! Part Two

We left this sorry tale at the point where Don Buxton was awaiting the promised response from Brian James the Chief Executive of the Rotherham Foundation Trust that is responsible for the running of Rotherham District General Hospital.

As you can see this letter set off alarm bells when Don received it:

RMBC tried to sting NHS for almost £250,000! Part One

Rotherham’s very own, ‘Tiser brought readers the front page story, Parking ploy is branded ‘Obnoxious’, no link I am afraid ‘Tiser has not put it online yet, pity!

Gareth Dennison’s excellent article covered all the important angles to the story, however in a Newspaper, space is at a premium, especially so with a front page story! This tale deserves a more detailed telling so that the full significance of what actually occurred two years ago is brought out.

This case is instructive for us and tells this sorry tale that was uncovered by Don Buxton who describes himself as “an active and empowered citizen” with assistance from Trambuster and what they discovered, amazed and horrified them in equal measure, ‘obnoxious’ is an apt word to use. I am afraid, words failed me, when I first learned of this outrageous and rather grubby episode. This may not be an isolated example of abuse of the provisions of 106 agreements and may yet turn out to be the tip of an iceberg! We shall see? The headline above would seem to me the only truthful way to put it in Yorkshire, the home of plain speaking.

Our tale starts with Don Buxton’s recent trip to Rotherham District General Hospital. Don’s experience, like most of us parking at RDGH, was a nightmare! When Don discovered that he had more time to wait for his appointment than expected, he decided to go for a walk, straight to reception and then on to the Chief Executives Secretary, Julie.

Don expressed his feelings about the state of car parking to her and feeling that at least he had made his point, attended for his appointment blissfully unaware that he had started a train of events that uncovered this disgraceful attempt to sting Rotherham’s General Hospital and our National Health Service for almost a quarter of a million pounds! Although Julie had taken Don’s contact details and had assured him he would be getting a response, he had little expectation of the revelations to come. That is where we will leave the story for now, Part Two later.