The head of of one of Britain’s leading online estate agents has warned of a property price drop if hospital services are taken away from Banbury.
Founder and chief executive of eMoov.co.uk, Russell Quirk, said relocating acute services from the Horton General Hospital could have a ‘disastrous’ knock-on effect on the community and local property values.
“Living close to good medical facilities is an important factor when looking to buy property, especially for people with medical conditions who need healthcare on a more regular basis than the average person,” he said.
“This aside, emergencies do happen and having a hospital nearby can make all the difference when providing people with peace of mind.”
Mr Quirk said having hospital services close to home can make all the difference for a property sale.
“If the decision was made to relocate the acute services facility at the Horton General Hospital to a hospital in Headington, it could have a disastrous knock-on effect to the community and local property values,” he said.
“The local service has provided vital care for those having babies, infants needing special nursing, elderly people suffering winter illnesses and falls, children with asthma, croup and many other chronic conditions.
“These patients requiring acute services are especially in need of medical facilities nearby and having to travel 25 miles to an overcrowded hospital with poor conditions is a tough ask,” said Mr Quirk.
“Not only that, but hospitals also employ hundreds, even thousands of people, and therefore, they become part of the local economic ecosystem. This drives people to want to live nearby, which drives demand and ultimately, house price increases.
“If this facility were to shut down, it could not only deter potential buyers from opting for Banbury, but also force existing homeowners to move closer to the healthcare they require, as regardless of what we personally think, our families and their well-being will always take precedence in the decision-making process,” he said.
“If this were to happen and buyer demand were to fall dramatically, the residents of Banbury will not only lose their local healthcare facility, but could see the value of their property decline sharply.”
Mr Quirk said with Banbury earmarked as an area for extensive homebuilding in the coming years and its mix of a quieter pace of life, local medical care and a realistic commute time into the city, all make the area a desirable hotspot for families and individuals to buy.
Keith Strangwood, chairman of the Keep the Horton General group said: “This is yet another example of the ripples that would spread out if the Horton is downgraded. I don’t expect many people have even thought about how losing hospital services might affect the value of their homes.
“We are concerned too about the effect on local commerce and industry. Which company is going to choose a town that is remote from acute hospital care when looking to set up or relocate?
“This insane plan to take away vital services and to break up the Banburyshire community needs to be rejected.”
Mr Strangwood urged the public to attend KTHG’s meeting at St Mary’s Church, Banbury on March 2 to hear more about the possible effects of the Oxfordshire Transformation Plan and how to oppose it most effectively during the current public consultation.