Future on hold for care centre

Bowgreave Rise, Garstang
Bowgreave Rise, Garstang

The future of a Garstang care home hangs in the balance after Lancashire County Council axed plans to create a modern £5m dementia centre on its site.

The 32-place Bowgreave Rise home on Garstang Road was pushed into the spotlight when the council announced the site was no longer deemed suitable for such a centre and the proposals were likely to be “unaffordable.”

County Coun Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said the £5m allocated for the scheme will still be used to improve dementia services in the county, with further proposals due from officers.

Garstang county councillor Sandra Perkins is now seeking a meeting with council leader Coun Jennifer Mein.

Wyre Council leader Coun Peter Gibson fears the money might be spent elsewhere in the county, yet with an ageing population a centre was needed here: “It’s very disappointing.It’s something that’s badly needed in Wyre.”

Coun Gibson added that former local County Councillor Val Wilson had “pushed and pushed” for the project which had been passed by the full council at its last budget meeting.

Former County Council leader Coun Geoff Driver said: “My worry, other than losing a great opportunity, is what will happen to Bowgreave Rise.”

Coun Driver said he had visited when it was recommended for closure as it is consistently under-occupied: “I found that love and care oozed out of the staff, but the building was very tired and needed a lot of money spending on it to bring it up to standard, but it had beautiful grounds.

“Officers told me it would cost around £3.5m to do properly, so it made sense to spend a little more and have a centre of excellence there instead, which could incorporate other parts of the community.”

Coun Martin said this week: “We are committed to developing services that provide the highest standard of care for people who have dementia. However, after a further assessment of the Bowgreave Rise site by officers, it has been concluded that it is unlikely to be suitable for a scheme of this nature and unlikely to be affordable within the available budget. We are committed to using the £5m identified for this scheme to improve dementia services in the county and are now looking at options that will achieve the maximum benefit from this investment.

“I’ll consider proposals from officers when they have completed that work.”

A report to the County Council’s cabinet last week stated: “Options are now being examined to achieve the maximum benefit from this resource, potentially through a joint scheme with Health or supporting the development of Extra Care facilities and proposals will be reported to the cabinet member once they have been developed.”

Coun Perkins said no final decision had been made and she would seek more information as there were many questions to be answered.