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Nearly £1.3m for almost 60 new houses to keep older people out of care homes

PUBLISHED: 11:16 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:16 08 April 2020

An image of what the proposed development at Acle could look like. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

An image of what the proposed development at Acle could look like. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council

Almost £1.3m is to be spent by council bosses to help build a new development of almost 60 home for older people who want to continue to live independently.

An image of what the proposed development at Acle could look like. Pic: Norfolk County Council.An image of what the proposed development at Acle could look like. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk County Council is to give the money to Saffron Housing Trust so the units can be built at the site of the former Herondale care home in Acle.

The cash comes from County Hall’s £29m Living Well Homes for Norfolk scheme, set up to help get independent living housing built - to keep people out of care homes.

The council says a “significant proportion” of residential care home admissions in Norfolk are for people with relatively low care needs, suggesting alternatives to residential care would have been appropriate.

The authority says independent living housing, which provides care to people who live in their own homes, is less expensive than residential care and helps people stay in their communities.

An image of what the proposed development at Acle could look like. Pic: Norfolk County Council.An image of what the proposed development at Acle could look like. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Increasing it to match future demand will save the council some £4m each year.

However, the council says the county needs 2,842 independent living units to be built by 2028, which is what the Living Well fund is being used to help happen.

In the case of the Acle scheme, the money would help Saffron Housing Trust build 58 units - 10 two-bed flats and 48 one-bed flats on a 1.77 acre site.

The scheme would be run and managed by Saffron Housing Trust, with on-site domiciliary care available from the council’s own company Norse Care.

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, at the groundbreaking of a Living Well development in Fakenham. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, at the groundbreaking of a Living Well development in Fakenham. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

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Forty-one of the units would be available for affordable rent and the county council would have nomination rights over who should be potential tenants.

The decision to make the money available for the scheme - which still needs planning permission from Broadland District Council - is one of the first made by Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council’s cabinet via new ways of working under coronavirus.

With meetings cancelled because of the pandemic, the decision was made by councillor Bill Borrett.

The former Herondale care home and day centre in Acle.  Picture: James BassThe former Herondale care home and day centre in Acle. Picture: James Bass

Mr Borrett, the council’s cabinet member for adult social care, said: “What makes these plans so exciting is that independent living for older people is the key to helping people live well.

“We know Norfolk’s population is ageing, and we need to plan for how we are going to meet this challenge in the long term.

“These developments will help people live well, remain independent and stay in homes of their own rather than residential care.

“While in the current circumstances we cannot say exactly when work might start, we have to continue to plan for the long term even as we put every effort into supporting our residents, our carers and NHS in the short term.”

Matt Davidson, director of development at Saffron, said: “We’re pleased the funding from Norfolk County Council has been confirmed enabling Saffron to deliver an exemplar project which leads the way for extra care.

“We are really grateful to have the support of the county council, and our other partners, as this is such an important scheme for Norfolk.

“We are excited about the project coming to fruition as the facilities will create greater opportunities for residents to integrate with the community reducing social isolation, whilst retaining their independence.”

MORE: More than £200,000 for first of new housing schemes to keep people independent


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