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£33,000 bill for scrapped Keighley health centre
Plans for a £15 million health and wellbeing centre in Keighley cost taxpayers £33,000 before being scrapped earlier this year, it was revealed this week.
A three-month public consultation into the centre in 2010 cost £24,074 and saw leaflets sent to 16,000 households to get public feedback.
But the NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds Primary Care Trust announced in January it would not be moving ahead with the centre, instead focusing on “community-based” healthcare and investing £300,000 into improving the existing premises in Oakworth Road.
Figures revealed by the Trust under the Freedom of Information Act show £13,000 was spent on market research before the consultation, £11,000 on printing flyers and delivering details to the 16,000 households and £9,467 on professional advisers, who helped draft the plans. These figures do not include any staff costs.
Councillor Doreen Lee (Lab, Keighley East) said: “They have spent £33,000, but that could easily double when you take into account the time NHS and council staff spent working on this. We have said this before, but this whole process has been diabolical.”
Councillors have criticised the way the decision was announced – many did not know the plan had been scrapped until the NHS issued a press release in January, and one pointed out that considering the amount spent on the consultation, the decision to shelve the project seemed much more low key. Councillor Adrian Naylor (Ind, Craven) said: “Considering they spent £33,000 on a consultation to build a health centre, there was a surprising lack of consultation to not build it.
“They are only spending £300,000 to fix up the existing health centre, so £33,000 would have gone a long way.”
The centre would have involved investment from Bradford Council and offered NHS and council services, as well as a space for voluntary groups.
Dr Phil Pue, chief clinical officer for the Trust, met councillors to explain the decision, and said its priority was “services, not bricks and mortar”.
The Freedom of Information request reveals the council’s press office was informed of the decision in November, as was Keighley MP Kris Hopkins via a phone conversation.
The council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee was also told in November a report recommending the idea be scrapped was imminent. Ward councillors were informed in January.
Councillor Jan Smithies, (Lab, Keighley West) said: “I think this project is the victim of the massive changes in the NHS.”