A revised business case for a smaller than previously thought replacement care home in Fife has had to be drawn up due to budget pressures, The Courier can reveal.
Members of Fife Council’s policy and co-ordination committee will be asked to approve plans for a significantly scaled-down facility to replace Northeden House in Cupar in the New Year after cost analyses suggested money set aside for new care homes will be overstretched.
Around £18.3 million was allocated in the local authority’s capital plan for the replacement of three care homes in Methil, Cupar and Anstruther.
However, the original plan for a 36-bed care home on the site of the Dalgairn Centre in Cupar’s Bank Street looks set to be torn up in favour of a new proposal for a 24-bed care home and 12 supported flats in the same location.
The new building will also accommodate a day service facility and the existing adults community support service that currently operates from the Dalgairn Centre.
Change needed after rising costs
The change is needed after the anticipated price tag for the replacement of Methilhaven Care Home in Methil has risen from £6.6 million to over £7.1 million, with work still ongoing on the new care village on the former Kirkland High School site.
In a joint report to the January 7 committee, Nicky Connor, health and social care director, and John Mills, head of housing services, have urged councillors to back the new way forward.
“If the revised proposal is approved, the replacement of Northeden House with a new modern purpose-built care home in Cupar will be the second home in Phase Two of a wider Care Homes Replacement Programme, following the replacement for Methilhaven home,” the report notes.
“The new proposal represents a first partnership project with housing services that will comprise a joint building for care home residents and adults with additional support needs.
“Currently, Northeden House comprises 40 beds that are fully occupied, and the replacement care home would provide 24 beds to meet the design model of 12-bedroom units in the other new build care homes.
“Sixteen beds will be commissioned in the independent sector, if required, as the integrated building will also comprise 12 supported housing units.”
The budget for the Cupar project was re-profiled to £5.58m following the Methil cost over-runs, although permission is being sought to bring forward an additional £1,02m from the council’s capital plan to contain costs within the cost ceiling for Cupar of £6.6m.
This amount will also cover demolition costs for Northeden House in Cupar and shared contingency costs with Housing Services against Covid-19 costs.
Facility could be completed by 2023
Around £88,000 is expected to be saved due to the smaller size of the care home, but the report concedes that will be offset by the need to purchase 16 additional beds externally.
The report also adds work in Cupar will start immediately after the Methil Care Village is completed, with initial timescales suggesting completion of the Cupar facility by September 2023.
Work on the replacement for Ladywalk House in Anstruther will then commence after that, but the financial pressures already experienced will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect on that project.
A 24-bed residential care home, a day service facility with the potential to provide up to 10 places daily,12 extra care flatted units and two specific needs bungalows are proposed for Anstruther at a site in Mayview Court.
However, only £5.1m is left in the care home programme budget, which means an estimated shortfall of £1.47m for the total cost of that facility will have to be met from somewhere.