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750 care home housing units to be built across Cornwall

750 care home housing units to be built across Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:19am 23rd July 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

Cornwall Council will be able to provide much needed extra care homes after agreeing to go ahead with a new partnership which will initially deliver 750 new homes worth £150million.

The council’s Cabinet today agreed the appointment of Mears Ltd as a strategic partner to deliver and operate extra care housing (ECH).

Under the partnership the company will build housing for elderly people and those with special needs so that they can continue to live independently but have access to care services.

The council is set to enter into a 30-year partnership with the Gloucestershire based firm.

It has also identified the first sites which have been lined up for the construction of extra care homes in Hayle, St Austell, Liskeard, Newquay and Falmouth.

Rob Rotchell, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for adult social care, said that the council had been working for more than two years to reach the point where it could announce a partner for the scheme.

He said: “This will allow people to remain close to their communities and will also allow much needed family housing stock to flow back into the market.”

Rob Rotchell, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for adult social care

Cllr Rotchell said that 750 units would be delivered over seven years and would be a mix of affordable rent and shared ownership.

care

“This is really exciting and much needed. It meets a specific need for housing for older people in Cornwall. It will all be affordable and something we can all appreciate and be proud of.”

Andrew Mitchell, Cabinet member for housing

“I welcome this proposal. Here in Cornwall our population is living longer and there are more challenging issues with living longer.

“There are benefits apart from being able to look after the elderly. I do believe that it will be really good for being able to discharge patients from hospital and the benefit of the release of much-needed family housing back into the market.”

Linda Taylor, Conservative group leader at the council

There were concerns from many councillors that the proposals had not gone before the council’s overview and scrutiny committee but Cllr Rotchell said that the meeting it was due to be considered at was cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown.

He said that if the report had gone to scrutiny committee when it meets next week then it would not have gone to Cabinet until September and he said that could have had an impact.

Labour councillor Jayne Kirkham said she was concerned about the council entering into a large scale deal with a single company outside Cornwall. She asked why the contract could not have been broken into smaller parts so that firms in Cornwall could bid.

Cllr Rotchell said that Mears had been the only firm willing to join as partners after two other bidders dropped out.

He also added that the contract was only for some of the extra care housing which is needed in Cornwall and said that there would be more smaller projects which firms in Cornwall could bid for.

Councillors heard that the council was already in talks with one Cornish company about such a project.

aged-cane-elder-33786

“At this stage the amount of extra care units that we need across Cornwall is 3,500.”

He added: “There is a real scarcity of extra care in Cornwall. We are already having conversations with other smaller Cornish organisations to run parallel with this project.”

Rob Rotchell, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for adult social care

Conservative councillor David Harris said that the principle of the scheme was a “no brainer” but he was concerned about some of the risks of the project.

He highlighted a line in the report which states that some schemes “may have viability issues” and that the council may have to make grants to improve the affordability of the scheme.

Cllr Harris also questioned that all the units would be for affordable rent or shared ownership.

He said: “A lot of people who need extra care housing will be fully able to pay open market rent. I hope we won’t be subsidising people who can afford full rent.”

Conservative councillor, David Harris

Council chief executive Kate Kennally said that the partnership would help the council on delivering extra care homes for people in Cornwall.

She said that the estimated build cost of the 750 units was £150m and that Mears would be “bringing that to the table” in the partnership.

The Cabinet voted unanimously to approve the recommendations to go ahead with the new partnership.

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