Future of Windsor House site being discussed

Proposal for Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children

Windsor House

A report is being discussed next week which is expected to result in confirmation of plans to close the Windsor House elderly persons home on Ascot Way. The proposal was first discussed in September and now Council officials are reporting back on the discussions that they have had with residents, their relations and staff.

5 residents have recently moved out leaving 17 to find new homes. The Council says that there is currently a good supply of alternative accommodation options available including Glen Lodge.

The care home has 33 staff in total, the majority of who work part time.

The main criticism of the closure relates to timing. Promised modern elderly care facilities on the west of the City will not be available for 2 or 3 years.

Lincoln Court

Hedges blocked view and light from Lincoln Court flats in the summer

Considerable concerns have been expressed by residents of the adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered development.

These self-contained flats which include some communal space, are not included in the closure plans. However, the building has been allowed to deteriorate recently. Window frames are rotten, while an ongoing criticism has been about poor management of parking facilities.  Some boundary hedges weren’t cut in the summer, effectively isolated the elderly residents from the rest of the community.

York must do better in the way that it treats its tenants at Lincoln Court. They need to be given

assurances about the future of their flats as well as a date when modernisation works will commence.

The future of the Windsor Garth site

The Council has unveiled what seems to be a caring and imagination use for the Ascot Way site when the existing buildings have been demolished.

The report describes a possible state of the art facility for disabled children

 

“Should Windsor House close, the site could be redeveloped as the location for the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children and their Families, for housing or sold.”

Just as society doesn’t always treat the elderly as well as it should, the same could be said of people with disabilities. The principle of the proposed facility would therefore be welcome.

However, there are two significant issues to be addressed before any further development is considered in this neighbourhood.

Traffic congestion and lack of off street parking are now major problems.

They have worsened since 66 additional homes were built on the Hob Stones site and were exacerbated by the Council decision not to let the garages in Newbury Avenue pending the redevelopment of that site. The two issues are linked with inadequate “on street” parking space making access difficult even for the bus service.

There have been calls to introduce a “one way” system or even reopen the second access from Kingsway West.

Whatever the solution may be, one must be found before any development takes place which could further increase vehicle movements in the area.

Windsor House to close

Shock as Ascot Way elderly persons home faces early axe

The media are claiming today that Windsor House will be the next home to be closed by the City of York Council.

Although the closure is not unexpected, it had been anticipated that the home would remain open until alternative facilities were provided in the Acomb area.

Originally the plan had been to offer residents places at a brand-new care village which was to have been built on the former Lowfields school site. That project is running 5 years behind schedule and does not yet even have planning permission.

Another option – to replace the facility on the Oakhaven site – also is running behind schedule.

The Council is putting most of its effort and money into the east of the city. The sale of the Windsor House site – and parcels of land at Lowfields – will be used to finance a big home and leisure complex at Burnholme.

Windsor House residents, and their relatives, are likely to be very angry if places cannot be provided in Acomb to ensure that links with families and friends are sustained.

Some of the 34 members of staff at the home may face redundancy although, as there is a chronic shortage of care staff in the City, most will have a choice of alternative jobs should they choose to remain in the sector.

The closure would mean that the last Council run elderly persons home in the Westfield Ward would close. There is a private home on Gale Lane.

The sheltered accommodation at places like Gale Farm and Lincoln Court are not directly affected by the decision.

Council confirms closure of Woolnough House elderly persons home

Woolnough House

 A Council statement reads, “as part of our drive to improve the quality and choice of care for older people in the city, we are consulting with residents of Woolnough House on its future.

Residents, their relatives and staff at one of City of York Council’s older people’s homes – Woolnough House – are being consulted on the option to close the home in late 2017, as part of plans to modernise accommodation for older people in the city.

The plans seek to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population, by providing modern facilities which allow high quality care and quality of life. It also aims to make the best use of the city’s existing extra care housing, making it more accessible for people with higher care needs by increasing the support available at each venue and by replacing the council’s four out-dated older people’s homes, with more modern accommodation”.

The news comes as work nears completion on 25 new extra care apartments and two bungalows at Glen Lodge in Heworth.

Each of the council’s older people’s homes was assessed against a number of criteria to determine which homes should be consulted on for closure first.

Three older people’s homes – Grove House, Oakhaven and Willow House – closed in the past 17 months as part of the programme.
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York Council set to close Willow House elderly persons home

Willow HouseMembers of City of York Council’s Executive will consider plans for the next phase of the Older People’s Accommodation Programme on Thursday 24 November, when they receive the results of the consultation at Willow House older persons home and decide if the home should close.

Between Monday 26 September and Friday 4 November residents, relatives, carers and staff at Willow House were invited to take part in a six week consultation on the option to close the home in Spring 2017, as part of plans to modernise accommodation for older people in the city.

If the proposals go ahead, Executive will also be asked to approve that the Willow House site be put up for sale to generate a capital receipt to support the wider Older People’s Accommodation Programme.

The programme seeks to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population, by providing modern facilities which deliver high quality care and support an improved quality of life. It also aims to make the best use of the city’s existing Extra Care housing, making it more accessible for people with higher care needs by increasing the support available at each location and by replacing the council’s out-dated Older People’s provision, with more modern accommodation.

The consultation on proposals to close Willow House engaged residents, relatives and staff. A number of issues, concerns and queries were raised during the consultation, which have been considered and factored into the Older People’s Accommodation Programme. Everyone affected by the consultation was offered the opportunity to talk on a one-to-one basis about the proposals.

Residents were also able to discuss the options open to them, based on their individual needs, including housing extra care housing or moving to an alternative care home.

The Moving Homes Safely Protocol has also been shared with residents. The protocol was used to support residents and their families through the closure of Oakhaven and Grove House and seeks to minimise any stress for individuals by focusing on the needs of each resident. If Executive approve plans to close Willow House it is advised the protocol is used again so that residents’ moves are carefully planned and managed.

Martin Farran, Director of Adult Social Care, City of York Council, said: “We recognise that this consultation process can be an unsettling and upsetting. Throughout this process we have been working closely with residents, staff and their families, to make sure they have the support and advice they need.

“The focus of the Older People’s Accommodation Programme remains clear: to support independent living at home and equip York with the accommodation and care that it needs for the future. Our residents are of paramount importance and the actions we take now will ensure that they – and future generations – will have the best possible quality of life and ensure that we can meet the needs of York’s ageing population.

“Whatever decision is taken by the Executive, we will continue to support residents, relatives and staff throughout the process.”

Executive will take place on Thursday 24 November at West Offices from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online from: www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

To find out more about the report, or to attend, click

Work on new purpose-built accommodation for older people starts

Work to extend a popular Sheltered Housing Scheme with Extra Care Facilities has started.

PAY--Glen-Lodge-nursing-home-in-York-where-Pamela-Hudson-75-was-allegedly-bitten-by-a-ratThe initiative will see 25 one-bed apartments and two bungalows added to the existing site at City of York Council’s in-demand Glen Lodge facility. The project is part of the council’s plans to modernise accommodation for older people in the city, giving them more choice and control about the care and support they receive.

The Glen Lodge extension has been designed to provide ‘dementia ready’ accommodation, allowing people with dementia to continue to live independently in their own home, safely and sociably. The apartments and bungalows will be built alongside communal lounges, a landscaped garden and other facilities.

The £4.1m scheme is supported by a £850,500 grant from the Homes & Communities Agency.

The extension is the second phase of improvement work at Glen Lodge, which saw the help and support available to residents – known as ‘extra care’ – become available 24 hours a day, seven days a week earlier this year, making it easier for people with higher care and support needs to live at Glen Lodge.

With York’s population of people aged 75 and older expected to rise by 50 per cent by 2030, and with the popularity and quality of its current provision at Glen Lodge and extra care services at Auden House, these new plans are part of a city-wide scheme to modernise accommodation for older people.
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Executive snubs Lowfields residents

The York Council is to consult residents on a plan to build on most of the former Lowfields school site.

Former Lowfields School

Former Lowfields School entrance

Last night members of the committee and officials refused to acknowledge the concerns about the plan which were tabled by local Councillor Andrew Waller.

The committee had been told of the results of a survey undertaken in the area over the last week (see foot of page).

The survey results – covering over 300 households – revealed that the community was dismayed at some of the remarks contained in an officer report.

In particular:

Labour first suggested building on football pitches in 2012

Labour Councillors first considered building on the football pitches in 2012. 

  • The suggestion that any development should be “piecemeal”. Residents have no desire to see construction traffic accessing the site over an extended period of time and are fearful that the maintenance standards that will apply to any undeveloped plots will be inadequate. They want to see an early completion of the whole of the site
  • The inclusion of any “hospital”, police depot or GP surgery all of which would have an impact on 24/7 traffic volumes, put more pressure on parking spaces and bring noise and disturbance to what is otherwise an entirely residential area.  Residents say that any “hub” facilities – such as a police desk – should be located at the Library on Front Street (where there is adequate expansion potential to the rear of the existing buildings)
  • The reduction in open space to less than ½ the area of a football pitch is unacceptable.  Residents want green space and want part of it to be allocated as a site for a nature reserve (lack of maintenance had de facto already effectively turned parts of the site into a wild life area over the last decade). Several have said that they would like to see a play park established.
  • Building high density houses would exacerbate parking problems. Such problems are acute at the quoted paradigm comparator location (the top of Tedder Road). Bungalows and older persons (downsizing) apartments would be more acceptable as the number of vehicles owned by occupants of this type of property is likely to be low,

Many residents say that they hoped that the Council would agree to honour its historic commitment to the local community and restrict development to a 6.5 acre site.

Lowfields survey results