Fort House Surgery – Proposed Relocation Planning Appeal

Fort House Surgery planning decision appeal

September 2019

NHS North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group is currently appealing the planning decision made earlier this year by Elmbridge Borough Council regarding the change of use of Burwood Ward at Walton Community Hospital.

The original application was to change the use of the empty ward to house Fort House GP surgery which has outgrown its current premises in Hersham Road.

Relocation of Fort House Surgery to a more modern and accessible space would bring significant benefits for local patients and residents.

Practice Manager for Fort House Surgery, Harriet Reid, explains why the potential move is so important:

“Moving to larger, modern premises would make a huge difference to our practice and to the services we can offer patients. Our current building has served us very well for many years but we are limited in the clinical services we can provide current patients; we are no longer able to register new patients who are moving into Walton and want to attend Fort House as we don’t have enough consulting rooms; there are serious issues with disabled access and extending the building is simply not possible due to planning constraints on the current site.

“With more local development taking place it’s going to be increasingly difficult for new residents to find GP services close to where they live. If we were able to move to the vacant ward, we would be able to re-open our list as well as provide all patients with an accessible environment. We would particularly like to encourage our patients – and prospective patients – to support us and make their comments known to the Planning Inspector.”

The appeal is now live and local people are able to send in comments until 20th September.

Anyone who wishes to make a comment can do so via the following link:

To find out more about the original planning application and the engagement the CCG carried out with local residents and patients please go to the North West Surrey CCG website:


Update following planning committee decision

4 February 2019

The CCG’s planning application to change the use of Burwood Ward in Walton Community Hospital from C2 to D1 (and so suitable for a GP practice) was refused by local councillors at the North Area Planning Committee on Monday 4 February 2019. It had been recommended for approval with conditions by the council’s Planning Officer whilst the County Highways Authority recommended the Transport Assessment and Travel Plan.

The reason for refusal was given as follows:

“The proposed development would fail to provide sufficient car parking for the numbers of users of the application site and the wider Walton Community Hospital and Walton Health Centre which would result in an increase in parking stress in the local area and have a detrimental impact on the users of that site and the amenities of the neighbouring properties and locality. This would be contrary to policies DM2, DM7 and DM9 of the Elmbridge Development Management Plan 2015.”


Fort House Surgery proposed move from Hersham Road to Walton Community Hospital

September 2018

Walton GP Practice re-location plans open to the public

In conjunction with the CCG and other NHS bodies, Fort House Surgery has been exploring the options of moving to bigger, more suitable premises.

The North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group have confirmed that subject to planning permission, plans are being developed to re-locate Fort House Surgery to “…modern, fully compliant premises with sufficient capacity to cater for current and future patients…

The proposed site for the re-location is Walton Community Hospital (which is estimated an 8 minute walk away from the current location) as it provides available space that can be readily adapted to provide facilities that will meet patient need and demand.

The public will have the opportunity to review these plans and the background to this proposal during September in public meetings and at an exhibition in Walton Library.

A planning application lodged with Elmbridge Borough Council earlier this year to turn the building back to residential use has subsequently been withdrawn, we assume this is pending a decision on the relocation and that it may potentially be re-submitted in due course – you can view the withdrawn planning application here.

Exhibition Drop In Sessions

Tuesday 11th September to Friday 14th September – 09:00 to 16:00

Walton Library, Heart Shopping Centre, Walton on Thames, KT12 1GH

The exhibition will be available to on these four days and you will be able to leave comments.

Meet members of staff from Fort House Surgery and NHS West Surrey CCG between 10:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 15:00.

Public Meetings

Wednesday 19th September – 11:00 to 12:30

Cecil Hepworth Playhouse, 1 Hurst Grove, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 1AU

Wednesday 26th September – 19:00 to 20:30

Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre, Manor Road, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 2PF

If you would like to attend either of the Public Meetings please register at and let them know if you have any specific access requirements.

Fort House Surgery relocation plans – FAQs

A number of FAQ’s have been published by the North West Surrey CCG

1. What is happening?

Working with staff at Fort House Surgery, the CCG is developing plans to relocate Fort House Surgery on Hersham Road to Burwood Ward in Walton Community Hospital – 700 metres away. These plans are subject to planning permission.

The proposal is at an early stage and no decisions have been made yet. The CCG is committed to working with all stakeholders to explore how challenges facing primary care can be addressed.

2. Why does the surgery need to move?

The demand for primary care services in Walton is increasing. This is causing significant pressure on staff and the buildings where our primary care services run from. Fort House Surgery is based in a converted house that is not fit for purpose.
There is not enough consulting space and the number of patients is four times what it should be.

There are also a number of wider challenges in the surrounding area. There is a need for more housing and five local GP practices have stopped registering new patients as they have reached capacity. This means people moving to Walton-on-Thames
are finding it difficult to access essential healthcare.

We need to address these challenges now if we are to create a sustainable health and care system that works for patients for the future.

3. What do staff at Fort House Surgery think about the potential move?

Surgery staff have been heavily involved in developing the proposals so far and are positive about the potential to offer a wider range of enhanced services from new premises.

4. What other sites have been considered?

A number of options have been explored including:

  • Buying a new stand alone, shell building that forms part of a proposed new, mixed use development being led by the Council on a site 400m away at Stompond Lane. The cost of this option was far beyond the funds available and could not be pursued.
  • Exploring other suitable premises near to the existing site. Discussions with Elmbridge Borough Council have yielded no suitable premises.
  • Redeveloping an existing empty space at Walton Community Hospital. The CCG currently pays £180,000 per year for this ‘void space’. It provides three times more space than the current premises. This is the only viable option available to the CCG and Fort House Surgery.

5. How much will it cost and where is the money coming from?

The CCG has been awarded funding from the Estates and Technology Transformation Fund. This is NHS England’s multi-million pound investment in modernising buildings and making better use of technology to improve general practice services for patients.

Funds have also been secured from Elmbridge Borough Council Community Infrastructure Levy subject to a travel plan being agreed and sufficient engagement with the local community and Councillors.

6. How are we involving patients and local people who could be affected by any relocation?

  • There are a number of ways local people have been engaged and can continue to be involved throughout September.
  • Meeting with ward Councillors and residents in June 2018
  • Meeting with Fort House Patient Participation Group
  • Meetings with practice staff and other local healthcare professionals
  • An exhibition for local people to view the proposals and talk to CCG and surgery staff in September
  • Two public meetings in September
  • Discussions with the Patient and Public Engagement Forum
  • Meeting offered with local MP
  • Sharing information with Healthwatch and the local voluntary sector
  • A communications campaign to raise awareness of the plans using online and offline channels – social media, local press, leaflets, posters, website information

7. Will there be a public consultation?

The proposal does not constitute a substantial variation in services and therefore would not require formal public consultation. The proposed location is 700m away and therefore patients registered with Fort House will still be able to access primary
care services locally.

8. I am registered with Fort House Surgery – what do I have to do?

You do not need to do anything. The practice will keep you informed as the proposal goes through planning permission. All services will continue as normal.

9. Why can’t the existing premises be renovated?

The only option to provide enough space is to build out over the front car park. This would not be compliant with planning requirements for consulting rooms.

10. What does the space at Walton Community Hospital offer?

Burwood Ward offers more space to accommodate the growing number of people needing GP services in Walton. It also offers versatile spaces to develop services that are an alternative to a hospital stay. The space could house outpatient services
and teams of different healthcare professionals who are now working more closely together.

There would be room to host training for medical staff so that we can develop and retain highly qualified clinicians. The space is also currently paid for by the CCG so it offers good value for money.

11. What is the expected impact on local roads and parking and how will this be managed?

The CCG recognises the concerns of residents of Sidney Road, Rodney Road and other nearby roads have about the potential for additional cars parking on roads adjacent to Walton Community Hospital.

The proposal we want to discuss with local people seeks to move Fort House Surgery to a location that is central to the patient population. It is therefore expected that the number of patients that would need to drive to their appointment and park would be low.

However, this will not be taken for granted. An independent specialist will develop a travel plan for the proposed premises. To do this they will liaise with Surrey County Council to consider options that would reduce the potential for anti-social parking.

The proposed premises fulfill the Elmbridge Borough Council requirement for parking spaces – one space per consulting room.

12.What will happen to the existing Fort House Surgery building and land?

Part of this overall proposal requires Fort House Surgery to be converted back into residential use. Should planning permission be granted for this change of use, then the building will be sold by the old partnership.

13.Who is making the final decision and when?

The key milestones (which are subject to change) are…

  • September 2018 – discussing plans with local people
  • November 2018 – planning applications submitted (residents can share their views with Elmbridge Borough Council)
  • January 2019 – decision by Elmbridge Borough Council’s planning committee
  • February 2019– business case approved (if council gives planning permission)
  • March 2019 – renovation work starts on site
  • June/July 2019 – relocation complete

14. What services will be available from the new site if the relocation goes ahead?

The space available at Walton Community Hospital means we could provide and range of services needed by local people.

  • Pre-diabetes sessions – to support people at risk of diabetes
  • Asthma walk-in clinics
  • Low-risk skin cancer clinics
  • Screenings currently offered at hospital brought into the community – e.g. aortic aneurism screening to check for swelling in the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your tummy. It can be serious if not spotted early.
  • Contraception clinics
  • Sexually transmitted infection screening
  • Well person clinics
  • Mother and baby meetings
  • Pre-university sessions to give advice on contraception, alcohol use and mental health issues
  • Training centre of excellence for health professionals

15. What will happen if planning permission is not granted?

The money secured cannot be transferred to another project in Elmbridge, or used for any other GP practices. Therefore the funding will be lost, and the CCG will not be able to apply for more.

The CCG would continue to pay £180,000k per year for an empty space that cannot be used.

Fort House will remain in non-compliant premises and the list will remain capped – so no new patients can register and it will not be possible to offer any further services.

The surgery premises would also not meet Care Quality Commission (CQC) conditions which will be taken into account by the CQC at their next review.

16. Why is the empty space at Burwood Ward not being used for community hospital beds for rehabilitation?

Burwood Ward has not been used as an inpatient ward for over nine years. Data from adult community services has shown there is not a need for additional inpatient beds for rehabilitation.

Evidence also shows that patients benefit from receiving rehabilitation support in their own home.

Back to the What’s in Walton Homepage


Have you joined the Walton-on-Thames Community group on Facebook?

Recent Articles:

2 Planning Applications for The Birds Eye Building
Walton on Thames – Our Mini Guide!