As previously reported, the York Council has abandoned its plans to build a care and nursing home on the Lowfields site. It had been unable to find a development partner for its scheme.
A meeting next week will hear that the plot (on the old school footprint) will be offered for sale to private developers with the condition that they construct “extra care” independent living units there.
The Council expects to receive around £450,000 for the site.
Independent living homes are aimed at the elderly. The scheme has similarities to the Hartrigg Oaks neighbourhood on the other side of the City.
This proposal effectively takes us back to 2010 when the original plans for the site – although much smaller and retaining a large amount of green space – envisaged its use as a “care village”. The site is ideally placed for easy access to a full range of services on Front Street.
Homes would be offered on a leasehold basis and would be ideal for homeowners seeking to “downsize”.
“Communal social facilities” would be included and might be also be made available to over 55’s living in the flats and bungalows which are currently being constructed.
The Council (rightly) claims that older people want to retain their independence and that there is a general trend away for care institutions. The Council has been closing its existing elderly persons homes over recent years. Closures have included Oakhaven on York Road although this site has also been unused now for over 4 years.
The Volte-face at Lowfields will inevitably mean more delays. The Wates development is expected to be complete in 2022. Work on the independent living unit would not start until 2021. It could be another 3 years (or longer) before construction traffic finally moves off the site.
The new plan – which is welcome if very belated – comes a few days after residents complained about the current contractors leaving generators running during the through night period. It took some time to resolve the issue.
On 24th March (7:00pm) residents are due to hear an update on the project when local Councillors hold a meeting in the Acomb Methodist Hall on Front Street. The future of the communal housing, self-build, playground, police station and doctor’s surgery parts of the plan are likely to be under considerable scrutiny.
Details of the care home report can be found by clicking here