Sheltered homes plan for Portsmouth gets go-ahead

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SHELTERED accommodation is set to be built on the sites of two former nursing homes after plans got the green light.

Alexandra Lodge, in Wyllie Road, Hilsea, and Caroline Lodge, in Prince George Street, Portsea, will be demolished to make way for 123 new apartments providing 24-hour care to residents.

Housing 21 – a charity which offers care and housing to older people – won the contract to run both sites.

Also approved at a full meeting of Portsmouth City Council were a 20-bed centre on Doyle Avenue, near the Alexandra Lodge site, to assess the needs of elderly people and teach them the skills to remain independent for as long as possible, along with 14 council houses.

The council’s head of social care, Cllr Leo Madden, welcomed the decision but admitted the plans had to be scaled back – losing 43 sheltered apartments – after only half of the expected £5m worth of funding could be secured from central government.

‘We always had a plan B,’ he said. ‘We knew whichever party won the last election would be looking at reducing spending, especially capital spending.

‘The grant might only be half what we were expecting but we will still push ahead with building new accommodation on the two sites.

‘Obviously we would prefer to have the money and that everything was possible.

‘But we are very happy with what has been agreed. Housing 21 will make full use of both sites and provide the best possible housing and care to the people in the city.’

The 50-bed Alexandra Lodge was closed in July this year as part of the plan, which the council believes will save £21.7m over the next 30 years due to lower running costs for the new facilities.

But councillors and care managers insist the scheme is aimed at helping older people to have more independence, rather than saving cash.

The leader of the council’s opposition Conservative group, Cllr Simon Bosher, said he supported the council’s decision.

‘As long as the plans deliver good value for money we are right behind them,’ he said.

‘We are united with the administration in wanting to deliver high-quality care for people in Portsmouth.’

The 123 apartments – 80 in Hilsea and 43 in Portsea – will be specialised for the elderly and disabled adults.