Woking Borough Council has submitted a bid to the government’s Levelling Up Fund in the hope of securing £3.8 million to support the development of a ‘health and community campus’ in Sheerwater.
Sheerwater is the second most deprived area in Surrey and is within the most deprived 20% of the national population as identified by the national Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).
A £492 million programme to regenerate Sheerwater is already underway and the additional funding from the government’s £4.8 billion infrastructure fund would help to reduce health inequalities in Sheerwater by improving access to essential services.
Woking Borough Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Will Forster, said: “Sheerwater is a neighbourhood that is largely cut off from the surrounding areas. The canal runs down one side and a trainline the other, meaning that access in and out is restricted to either end. Many residents, as identified through GP consultation feedback, do not have access to their own transport, and therefore it is important to bring essential health services to Sheerwater.”
In addition to building 1,200 high-quality, energy-efficient homes in Sheerwater (47% affordable), the council is planning to build a range of new community facilities and upgrade others to create a new and innovative health and community campus.
The new facilities, which have been designed in partnership with residents and the North West Surrey Alliance, will make it possible for multiple primary and secondary care providers to come together to support the needs of the community, from pre-birth through to adulthood and later life.
Within the campus, residents will be able to access maternity clinics, chiropody, disability support, GP services, dentistry, parenting support and nursery care. Within easy reach of these services, Sheerwater residents will be able to access a large park, recreational play activities, café, and community centre, to further enhance their wellbeing.
Cllr Forster continued: “The proposed health and community campus will address the particular needs of the Sheerwater community locally, and if delivered, will have a significant and positive impact on some of the borough’s most vulnerable and harder to reach residents.
“Pockets of deprivation do exist in Surrey, and the cost of infrastructure provision is extremely high, so I urge the government to consider our bid and the huge benefits for the Sheerwater community.”
If the bid is successful, the council will match-fund the amount awarded, enabling work start on the new facilities as early as September 2022.