South Gloucestershire councillors were today told that two new Elderly Persons Homes promised as part of a major closure programme are expected to be over two years late and their delay is likely to cost the Council extra money.
Back in February 2010 the council’s then Conservative Cabinet agreed that two new care homes would be built and run by an external provider on Council-owned sites previously occupied by The Chase Elderly Persons Home in Tenniscourt Road, Kingswood and Frome House in Cranleigh Court Road, Yate. The first new care home was initially planned to open on the Kingswood site during 2013 with the second care home opening in 2014 on the Yate site.
However, at this morning’s Adults and Housing Committee councillors were told that the anticipated dates for opening the two new care homes had slipped to Autumn 2014 for the Yate home and Autumn 2015 for the Kingswood home. This has now lengthened further, as the proposed new tender will include the option for the external provider to build and open both new care homes in the Autumn of 2015 – well over two years behind schedule in the case of the Kingswood facility.
Councillors were also advised that the delay in commissioning the two new care homes has the potential to impact on the council’s ability to achieve its savings target by the required dates, which may mean that other savings or cuts to services will need to be made to plug any gap caused by the delay.
Councillor Pat Apps (Labour, Kings Chase) who is Labour’s Lead Member on Adults and Housing Services, and a local councillor for The Chase site observes:
“The programme of closures was based on a promise from the Tories that the two new homes would be provided quickly. That was the whole reason that residents had to find somewhere else to live so quickly. 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. And to make matters worse, it is looking like the council is going to have to find yet more savings or cut more services in order to pay for the delays. 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.”
Her colleague Councillor Bill Bowrey (Labour, Kings Chase) adds:
“The site of The Chase home in Tenniscourt Road is now a complete mess. My colleagues and I have had complaint after complaint from local residents about the state of the site, which has previously had rubbish dumped on it and continues to be overgrown and unsightly. We’ve made senior council officials aware of these ongoing problems and we have been promised they will be dealt with very soon.”
7th November 2012