Estimated costs of a major expansion to a Flintshire council-run care home in Buckley have increased by over £1m in just nine months.
Planning permission to double the number of beds at Marleyfield House from 32 to 64 – to meet the demand for care placements in the county – were backed last month.
Cabinet members are now set to review details on the planned expansion later this month, prior of entering into a formal contract with construction firm Willmott Dixon.
The council’s cabinet was told last April initial costs of the design, furniture and facilities for the new extension would be in the region of £7.6million.
A report published ahead of next weeks cabinet meeting shows costs have now soared to an estimated £8.62m, an increase of over £1m.
The report states the increase is down to “costs for construction materials to facilitate the design,” a sprinkler and hydrant system and national inflation.
The report does goes on to say that some “value engineering steps” have helped save on the build price by approximately £320,000.
Those steps include moving the extension four meters further south giving a savings on groundwork and retaining walls “due to the topography of the site.”
Flintshire Council approved £3,006,000 of its own capital funds towards the project, Welsh Government grants totaling around £6 million have been secured to help support the project development.
The council says the design demonstrates an “innovative approach to supporting individuals in residential settings,” the 32 bed extension will also offer“ increased usable communal outdoor space and “accessibility to support the well-being of residents.”
Each room with have personal outdoor space either through a balcony on the first floor or a patio on the ground.
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services, Councillor Christine Jones, said:
“Flintshire is a forward-thinking Council, and this scheme is part of our proactive approach to addressing the current significant pressures and fragility in the care sector across the country.
We have an ageing population with increasingly complex needs, so we must increase the care and our care homes, this is despite a greater emphasis on keeping people living at home for longer.”
In January, members of the local authority’s planning committee unanimously supported the proposals which will help to relieve some of the pressure on the care system in Flintshire.
The plans were supported by Buckley representative Richard Jones, who said: “The landscape has been beautifully designed and will benefit residents in this facility, giving an uninterrupted view of the open countryside across Buckley.
Flintshire’s Cabinet members will be asked to approve the budget for the “nationally recognised, sector-leading scheme” on March 18.
A senior councillor said the ageing population meant an extension was needed at one of its three care home facilities with an options appraisal endorsing the Buckley home as the most suitable location.
The scheme has now been recommended to receive the green light ahead of a meeting of the local authority’s planning committee being held next week.
In a report, the council’s chief planning officer said it would deliver a “significant benefit” for residents.
Andrew Farrow said: “A project has been brought forward by Flintshire County Council for the extension of Marleyfield House, an existing local authority care home.
“The extension consists of 32 additional rooms with associated communal areas, medical facilities, offices and store rooms.
“The proposal also provides extended car parking facilities and extensive landscaping.
“This application represents much needed expansion and development of an important council facility.
“The design is considered to be appropriate, and the extensive landscaping scheme is considered to provide significant benefit to the site as a whole both visually, and more importantly to the living conditions of the residents of the site, with both amenity and therapeutic value.”
No objections have been received against the proposals, which show each new bedroom will have access to an outdoor space.
The development will also result in improvements to the existing kitchen facilities and is being funded through a capital grant from the Welsh Government.
Additional money has also been made available from the council’s capital programme.
Speaking previously, the authority’s cabinet member for social services said some of the beds would be used to help patients being discharged from hospital.
Cllr Christine Jones said: “There are currently significant pressures and fragility in the care sector across the country and this was highlighted in a review of the Flintshire care sector carried out in 2016.
“Due to an ageing population with increasingly complex needs the requirement for care and care homes is set to increase, this is despite a greater emphasis on keeping people living at home for longer.
“This challenge presented an opportunity to expand one of the council’s three care home facilities.
“The development will assist the process of hospital discharge and support appropriate assessments to reduce care packages implemented to support people in the long term.”
The proposals will be considered by councillors at a meeting being held on Wednesday .
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).