New extra care flats for Totnes

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New extra care flats for Totnes

Posted: 20/02/2008 20:15:20

Ahead of plans to transfer Devon County Council's residential homes to Shaw Healthcare, the Council has met with Totnes Town Council and other interested local people to discuss the possibility of redeveloping Rushbrook residential home into 35 one and two bedroom extra care flats for people with care needs.

Providing extra care accommodation is one of the ways that the County Council can ensure that people in future are able to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible, while receiving the care they need.

Flats would be available for sale or for rent, and if the scheme is accepted and receives planning permission, then all parties hope that development could begin towards the end of 2009.

Housing schemes like this are already helping people in Devon live independently, preventing a need for them to sell their homes to move into residential care.

Extra care housing schemes are designed to accommodate older people as they become frailer and need more support. All flats would have wheel chair accessible bathrooms and level entry showers. Schemes such as this can offer independence and privacy alongside the opportunity to socialise and meet people.

Support is provided onsite in people's flats, according to their individual needs.

The Rushbrook site is an ideal location for this type of accommodation because it is close and easily accessible to Totnes.

Many extra care schemes have restaurants that people living there can use, but which are also open to the public.

Rushbrook is registered with the Commission for Social Care Inspection to provide residential care, but the condition of the building itself is unsatisfactory and it requires significant investment just to maintain it at its current standard. Only five people currently live there on a long term basis.

The County Council has decided that better use of the site, and of better use to the local community in the long term, would be to redevelop the plot into modern extra care flats, subject to gaining planning permissions.

The initial ideas have received positive comment from Totnes Town Council, although any transition would need to be very carefully handled.

The Mayor of the Town, David Horsburgh, said:

"The whole scheme sounds well thought through, and the flats look very attractive. The idea that residents can be as independent as they wish, and have the support they need to remain in their own home, is excellent, and one we would all applaud. I hope that as many homes as possible will be for rent."

The next steps include discussions with District Council Planners to ensure any scheme is sympathetic to the surrounding areas and appropriate to the town.

At the same time, the County Council is consulting people about the proposal to cease using the current building.

Cllr John Rawlinson, the County Council's Executive Member for Adult and Community Services, said:

"Extra care accommodation is an important part of our strategy to develop services that are fit for the future in Devon. The Rushbrook proposals are very exciting and would offer great opportunities for local older people to remain living independently in Totnes, but with appropriate support.

"Our priority is to the residents and staff involved with the current home. Residents are already aware of changes, but we'll be working closely with them to assess their needs and work out with them and their families what they want to do. Nothing will happen until everyone is happy with the alternative plans."

Local County Councillor, Geoff Date, said:

"I welcome the proposed scheme and look forward to further consultations within the community regarding these exciting developments."

Rushbrook is one of 26 Council-owned residential homes currently being considered for transfer to private sector care providers Shaw Healthcare.

Negotiations with Shaw are leading to a possible transfer of homes on May 1st 2008. Negotiations are going well, but if the process fails, the County Council would then need to find another partner to take over the redevelopment project.

Staff, residents and families are being involved with discussions about the proposals. An official 30 day consultation period started this week. When this has been completed, the Council will then decide how to take the project forward, involving key local people and South Hams District Council throughout the planning process.


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