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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Save Cumbrian care home group assured on new plans

A group set up to save a care home have been assured that ambitious re-development plans remain a “high priority”.

Gerald Humes photo
Gerald Humes

The Friends of Richmond Park in Workington want to see the creation of a care village and campus on the allotments behind the High Street home.

Richmond Park, previously earmarked for closure, has been granted a stay of execution by the county council to develop dementia care provision.

Gerald Humes, leader of the town council, said the care home plans were town council’s “number one priority”.

A county council spokesman added: “The Workington scheme is a high priority and we’re working on proposals that could form the basis of discussions with the community to enable a scheme to be delivered.

“In terms of sites the criteria means that ideally the chosen site should be close to the community and, in that respect, the Richmond Park site would be an option.

“This will form part of any discussion with the local community once we are in a position to put forward a deliverable scheme.

“Timescales are always difficult to predict when dealing with complex planning and funding issues but we aim to have a proposal available for discussion later in the year.”

The spokesman was unable tell the News & Star how much later in the year.

The plans would include an upgrading of the existing home to be able to offer training to the private sector. The centre would allow elderly people to retain their independence for as long as possible.

Day care and respite facilities would allow for a “seamless transition” into full-time care.

Ken Congdon of the Friends said: “We have been positive throughout and we want to remain positive but we could do with some assurances that the councils and councillors retain the same ambitions as us to make the project a success.

“As an organisation we appreciate that nothing seems to happen quickly in local government. There is no malice in that statement.

“We have had some delays because of the holidays but we sincerely hope that the forthcoming elections will not distract attention from our shared goal.

“We hope that the councillors concerned will seize the initiative and push forward for the benefit of the town as a whole, the current and future residents of Richmond Park, and to further enhance their own reputations.”

Progress on the ambitious scheme is dependent on provision of an alternative site for allotment holders.

But the plans appeared be a step closer this week when Allerdale Council’s executive agreed this week to give the Newlands Lane play area to the town council.

Mr Humes said that part of the land around the play area could be developed for community use, “possibly for allotments”.

The idea has been agreed in principle by the allotment holders and all three councils.

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