Council called in to resolve hospital dispute

Conservators and Primary Care Trust clash over land issues

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Councillors are set to answer a plea for help from the body which looks after Putney Common which could help to unlock land needed for a new primary care centre at Putney Hospital.

Plans for the new health facility have been stalled while the Wimbledon and Putney Commons
Conservators and the local Primary Care Trust (PCT) attempt to resolve complex legal issues
over access to the site.

The problem arises because the conservators have no legal power to grant access rights to the
site over a strip of land in their ownership. The PCT could resolve this by obtaining a
compulsory purchase order but this could set the project back years.

Now the conservators are seeking the support of the council for a parliamentary bill which
would give them the power to grant easements across commons land.

Council leader Edward Lister said "People in Putney are fed up seeing the old hospital standing there rotting away. The building is a local eyesore and a scandalous waste of NHS resources.

"This is not about building on commons land - it is about regularising the access to a
development which has existed for many years.

"The PCT has to get moving on the new clinic. The conservators who are responsible for the
commons see the bill as a means of overcoming the legal obstacles."

The conservators' request for council support will be considered by the corporate resources
committee on July 27 and the executive on the following night.

The conservators are also seeking backing from the Putney Society and Merton and Richmond
  The Wandsworth PCT wants to build a new primary care centre on the site which would include private housing at the rear. Councillors have still to receive a formal planning application for any development here.


July 21, 2005