Derbyshire Council Council considers £200m care overhaul

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DERBYSHIRE County Council is to consider shutting local elderly residential homes and replacing them with new facilities as part of a £200m care overhaul.

Officials announced on Monday the plan to replace 20 county council-run care homes with ‘state-of-the-art’ flats for the elderly.

The first nine homes which would be affected include Holmlea in Tibshelf.

The Glebe in Alfreton and Rowthorne in Swanwick could later also be subject to replacement, in up to five years’ time.

Derbyshire County Council leaders say the plan is needed to provide more suitable, modern accommodation.

But some community leaders questioned whether total replacement of Holmlea and the disruption this could create would be necessary.

Unveiling the scheme on Monday, Derbyshire County Council leader Coun Andrew Lewer said: “These plans are a major leap forward in the way we care for older people.

“We want everyone to have their own front door and live independently for as long as possible.

“When people need extra support these plans mean they would have more choice and could expect buildings and services that meet modern standards and expectations.”

More than £200m will be spent on building about 1,600 new two-bedroomed flats to replace existing homes over the next seven years.

As well as building new flats on 27 sites around the county, the council also wants to create two new residential and community care centres in Darley Dale and Heanor.

Residents would be moved out of Holmelea, which has 40 spaces and is on Waverely Street in the village, while it is demolished and a new ‘extra care centre’ would be built on the same site with 75 spaces.

It would include modern sheltered accommodation-style apartments with 24-hour care, plus a day care centre.

Holmelea residents would be accomodated elsewhere during the build and offered places in the new centre.

But Tibshelf Parish Council chairman Wendy Vardy said a revamp and extension of Holmelea could be more suitable than total replacement.

“It sounds good but would demolishing something which is as good as Holmelea is now really be beneficial?” she said.

“I don’t doubt it needs a bit of work done but they will be spending an awful lot of money to change something that’s suitable now.”

Clive Moesby, county councillor for South Normanton East and Tibshelf, said he welcomed the plan and said: “It will bring it up to the 21st century and give people added dignity in their later years.”

But he added he would be focusing on supporting residents and relatives through any upheaval.

The county-wide overhaul will be considered by the Council’s cabinet on Monday.

If approved, a consultation running into next year will start on the plans and residents and relatives will be asked for their views before any final decisions are made.

New flats will be available to rent, buy or share ownership for people aged over 55 who have a care need.

Coun Charles Jones, the county council’s cabinet member for adult care, said: “We realise, if the plans go ahead, there will be disruption for people and we would do everything we could to minimise this and support people through any changes. All the plans would be subject to further consultation.”

Under the plans The Glebe, a 32-space home, on Church Street in Alfreton, would be subject to closure and replacement along with 11 other homes in a second, later stage of change in up to five years’ time.

Rowthorne, which has 40 spaces on Rowthorne Avenue in Swanwick, would also be closed in the second stage.