Opening of new care home in Yate delayed by at least a year

First published in News Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury

A NEW care home in Yate is unlikely to be open to residents for at least a year later than planned, it has been revealed.

The opening of a 60-bed facility to be run by a private care company on the site of the former Frome House, in Cranleigh Court Road, is expected to be pushed back until autumn 2015 following complications in the delivery of the project as well as with a second new care home in Kingswood.

The Yate home was originally due to open in autumn 2014, with the Kingswood site opening next year, but legalities over the ongoing tendering process and a decision to sell the freehold of both sites, rather than lease them on a long-term basis, have led South Gloucestershire Council to provide an option to the winning contractor to push the projects back and build them at the same time.

Cllr Pat Apps (Lab, Kings Chase) said the project to provide the two new homes, and close eight of the council's own homes, was reliant on a pledge to move swiftly.

"That was the whole reason that residents had to find somewhere else to live so quickly," she said.

"To find now that they were put through all that stress and yet the new homes are still not going to be built for so long is a real slap in the face for the former residents.

"The council officials responsible for this delay need to answer some serious questions and need to recognise the damage done to some of our elderly residents and this council’s reputation."

The hold-up is expected to result in the £1.1million due to be saved when the new homes opened to be reduced.

Director of community care and housing Peter Murphy said: "The disposal of the council-owned sites by sale of the freehold to an external provider rather than long-term lease will result in a capital receipt rather than revenue savings.

"This new disposal arrangement, together with the slippage in the deliver time scales of this project, will impact on the achievement in full of the savings target by the due date."

Cllr Matthew Riddle (Con, Severn), chairman of the council’s adults and housing committee who previously pledged to provide the new homes as quickly as possible, said: "The delay and subsequent change in approach is disappointing because it means that, whilst there will still be ongoing savings that can be re-invested in more home care, the amount of these savings won’t be as high as first thought.

"We do need to get to the bottom of whether the situation we now find ourselves in has anything to do with the controversial change to the bureaucratic committee decision-making system that the council now operates."

Frome House in Yate was demolished earlier this year and residents were moved to other care homes in the district. The new home will cater for dementia patients and residents from Woodleaze care home, also in Yate, will be given first priority to move in there.

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