New flats for old folk in £8m scheme in Brighton

Posted On 01 Dec 2013 at 1:12 pm

A block of 45 flats for vulnerable older people is planned in the centre of Brighton.

Funding for the £8.3 million scheme is expected to be approved on Thursday (5 December).

And the scheme is recommended to receive planning permission at a meeting six days later (Wednesday 11 December).

The Brooke Mead extra care housing scheme, in Albion Street, Brighton, has been designed to provide 24-hour social care support for vulnerable older people.

The Spearhead

Brighton and Hove City Council looks likely to contribute almost £6 million towards the cost of Brooke Mead with the government’s Homes and Communities Agency chipping in almost £2.5 million.

The council’s Policy and Resources Committee is expected to agree the funding package at a meeting at Hove Town Hall on Thursday.

More than £3.7 million is expected to come from the council’s housing revenue account and £2.1 million from the adult social care budget.

Former Conservative council leader Mary Mears expressed concern at recent meetings that no parking had been included in the plans, making life harder for visitors and elderly residents.

Councillor Mary Mears

Councillor Mary Mears

She said that it was the only extra care housing scheme in Brighton and Hove not to have parking which was a concern given the congestion in the area.

She was told that underground parking was considered but the cost would have been £700,000 so was not feasible.

There was parking in the local area and there would be a loading bay which could be used by doctors, for example.

Councillor Mears also said that the scheme appeared to be costly and asked for a breakdown to be given.

If the scheme stays on budget the flats, on land that is already owned by the council, will have cost more than £180,000 each to build.

An existing building will be demolished to make way for the new Brooke Mead scheme.

Councillor Mears also said that she had been told in the past that the scheme would enable the council’s adult social care services saving £300,000 a year.

A council finance official said that the figure was likely to be between £330,000 and £500,000 a year.

The council said: “Extra care housing is popular with residents as they are able to maintain more independence than they would have in a full-time care home.

“It is also significantly cheaper than care home accommodation.

“The new Brooke Mead has been designed to national ‘Lifetime Homes’ standards, to meet residents’ changing abilities and circumstances.

“Particular care has been taken in the design to cater for the needs of people with dementia and 10 per cent of the accommodation will be fully wheelchair-accessible.”

Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “We want to increase the amount of specialised housing for older people and adults with disabilities.

“Extra care housing makes taxpayers’ money go further and is popular with residents.

“It’s a key part of our plans to improve services while saving money.”

The funding is subject to planning approval. The planning application has been submitted and is due to be considered by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday 11 December at Hove Town Hall.

If planning permission is granted, the council aims to start demolishing the existing building early next year.

The aim is for residents to be able to move in during 2015.

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