Stratforward take a levy from businesses in town and use the money to bring visitors to the town.

They’re behind the river festival, the arts festival and the motoring festival. The levy for the next five years is 1.45 per cent of the property’s rateable value. For the past five years it has been 1.6 per cent.

Rother House, which has around 13,000 patients, were billed for the first time this year after the boundaries were redrawn.

However, South Warwickshire Foundation NHS Trust, which runs the hospital on Arden Street, has always been included.

The trust has given Stratforward £10,402 since the levy was introduced in 2009, including £1,566 this year.

Trust chief executive Glen Burley said: “I am sure that this makes sense for the businesses who benefit from increasing visitors to Stratford.

“Whilst I am very proud of the services that we operate in Stratford, I don’t think that people will travel thousands of miles just to visit our minor injuries unit!”

He has objected to paying the levy in the past but was told all business rate payers must cough up.

“This kind of levy on a healthcare provider is rather counter-productive,” he said.

But after Rother House refused to hand the money over, Stratforward has been forced to look into whether they can really bill doctors.

Karen Wild, Stratforward’s new manager, said: “We are aware of the situation and are seeking clarification on the position of GP surgeries paying Bid levies.

“We are speaking to British Bids, the national organisation dedicated to the Bid industry, in order to fully understand national policy before reviewing this in the context of Stratforward. Just as soon as we understand this, we will be back in touch with Rother House.”

When Rother House doctors got the bill they asked their patient group whether they should pay it or not. The patient group said no.

“They don’t want to know about festivals, it doesn’t help doctors,” said group chairman Elizabeth Dixon.

“They’re not gaining anything from it, in fact they often treat tourists free of charge!”

Trinity Court Surgery, in Arden Street, which has nearly 17,000 patients, has also refused to pay, although they paid £2,144 last year.

Practice manager Linda Davis said: “We have paid it in previous years but this year we have decided that we are not paying it because we don’t believe that tourism helps practices, in actual fact, it is a hindrance.”

Bridge House Medical Centre has already paid its levy for 2014-15. It cost the practice, which has around 9,500 patients, £558.25.

Arden Medical Centre practice manager Alison Lee said she had not received a bill, but if they do, she will also refuse to pay it.

Karen Wild joined Stratforward as their new manager earlier this month, at the start of the Bid’s second five-year term. She’s previously established similar projects in Colchester and Bolton. She has taken over from former director, Chris Gregory.

This article first appeared in the Herald on Thursday 5th June. For all the latest news, buy the paper on Thursdays for just 60p.