Confusion surrounds Labour’s plans to build three new care homes in York after it was revealed that one of the proposed sites in Fulford has been abandoned and another in Acomb has been delayed. Meanwhile, questions are being asked after plans were revealed to use the Burnholme School site as an alternative venue and sell the site in Fulford.
In May Labour agreed proposals to close the city’s nine care homes and replace them with state-of-the-art homes at Fordlands Road in Fulford and Haxby Hall plus a new care village site at Lowfield in Acomb. However, just 6 months later the Fordlands plan has been scrapped after analysis revealed concerns over flooding and space. The Burnholme Community College site has now been identified as the preferred alternative. The changes mean that the new facility will not meet the original April 2014 opening date, with the Burnholme site not available until after the school closes in July 2014. Meanwhile, the Lowfield Community Village project in Acomb has also run into problems as the tendering process to select a partner to run the site will now take longer than anticipated and the proposed April 2014 opening has also been scrapped.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Fulford and Spokesperson for Adult Social Services, commented:
“It appears the Labour Cabinet Member failed to properly assess the suitability of the Fordlands site in May. All the issues that are now being raised such the size of the land, it being in a tree protection zone, and the flooding issue should have been investigated then. Instead the Council has spent an unknown amount of money pursuing these plans for the last 6 months and have caused an avoidable delay in the opening of promised care homes. Labour need to reveal how much this mistake has cost and when they expect the homes to now open. I am also asking urgent questions as to what will happen to the Fordlands Road site amid speculation that the land will be sold for housing in order to boost the council’s deteriorating finances.
“We also needs answers over the Burnholme School site. While a local steering group is currently working out what the site will be used for, it is odd that Labour has suddenly decided they want to plonk a new care home there. No proper consultation has happened with local residents or local councillors. When Labour took the decision to close Burnholme School they promised the whole site will be used for improved and expanded community facilities for local residents. It is unclear where this promise or the aim to keep educational facilities on the site now stand.
“Labour promised under their original plans expanded community facilities on the whole of the Burnholme site plus three state-of-the art care homes by April 2014. We now have indefinite delays on the homes, confusion over the plans for community facilities at Burnholme, and the threat of land being sold for housing in Fulford. Labour are trying to spin this story, but actually they have some very serious questions to answer. There was intense speculation when Labour closed Burnholme that the site would be sold for housing. Public opinion made that impossible, but some residents will now be asking whether Labour have just swapped the Burnholme and Fulford sales around in order to get a much needed financial boost.”