Proposals to keep home open due to be considered

Published on: Tuesday, 13th February 2018

Proposals to keep a care home in Cotmanhay open while plans for a replacement are drawn up are due to be considered by the County Council Cabinet.

Council Council officials asked local people what they thought of plans to close Hazelwood Home for Older People due to the rising cost of repairs, but after hearing from residents, family, friends and staff, members of the Cabinet are being asked to consider new recommendations when they meet on 22 February 2018.  

Cabinet will be asked to agree that:

  • Hazelwood remains open until we build a new home in the Cotmanhay area;
  • essential work is carried out to ensure Hazelwood Home for Older People remains safe while alternative options are investigated;
  • consultations are carried out with local people once a site for a replacement is found.

Councillor Jean Wharmby, cabinet member for adult care, said: "I'm aware of the strength of feeling within the community to the proposal to close Hazelwood.  We listened carefully to what people told us which is why we are now recommending that the home remains open while we look in to building a new one in the area.

"The quality of care offered at Hazelwood has never been in doubt but significant repairs and refurbishments are needed to bring it up to the standards that people expect and deserve.  If we are successful in finding an alternative site, no decisions will be made without first consulting with local residents."

The 30-bed care home on Skeavingtons Lane was built in 1972 and is currently home to 21 residents 

Original estimates put repairs to the home at almost £1.7m with a further £489,000 in lost income during the two year programme.

Given the total held for repairs to all 22 County Council run care homes is £4m, a statement released said that the authority had to consider whether spending almost half on one was an effective use of public money.

Following representations from campaigners, the authority asked independent experts for a second opinion which revealed that the cost of improving the home and extending its life had increased to more than £3m.

However, an independent structural engineer has since advised that remedial work costing around £50,000 could be carried out to ensure the building is safe and allow time to explore alternative options. The work would include bracing the roof and replacing fire alarms and a kitchen extractor.

Councillor Wharmby added: "Funding all the work needed at Hazelwood would take up a huge proportion of the budget available for work on all our homes.

"We have to make sure we are using the money we have efficiently and effectively but the extensive work needed at Hazelwood does not represent value for money.

"However, we are committed to keeping a council-run care home in the Cotmanhay area and if Cabinet agrees to these new proposals, work would begin immediately to identify a new site.

"Hazelwood would remain open while this happens and residents and staff would be able to move in to a new home when it was built if they wish."

Once a new site is identified, this would be the subject of a new report to Cabinet and further consultation. Any proposed development would also need planning permission.

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