TWO Portsmouth care homes will be demolished to make way for innovative dementia apartments, but some are worried what this will mean for their current residents.
At a health, wellbeing and social care meeting on Tuesday Portsmouth City Council's head of health, Cllr Matthew Winnington, agreed that Hilsea Lodge on Gatcombe Drive and Edinburgh House in Cosham will be knocked down, with 50 new homes planned on the site of the latter.
The £9.75m scheme for Edinburgh House, that is set to close in October 2019, will also provide on-site facilities such as a shop, restaurant and hair salon to encourage the independence of its residents.
It was also decided that Hilsea Lodge on Gatcombe Drive will shut the following year, although plans for the site are not finalised.
Residents of both homes will have to find somewhere else to live when the work begins.
Speaking after the meeting Cllr Winnington said: 'The new accommodation will provide an alternative for people with dementia, and allow them to maintain independence and dignity in their own homes whilst ensuring that their individual needs are met.
'We know that we need a range of accommodation in Portsmouth to ensure that facilities are flexible enough to meet the needs in the city, and this decision will bridge this gap and shape the options people currently have in Portsmouth.'
The two homes have provision for 65 residents between them, however, the council claims the demand for residential placements for people with dementia has reduced since March 2016 as more people are opting to stay at home.
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But Susan Harvey, whose father is a resident at Hilsea Lodge, disputed this. Speaking at the meeting she said: 'When I was searching for a place for my father in March 2017 Hilsea Lodge could only take him for a period of two weeks assessment. But he had to use the respite room and there was no guarantee of permanent place as they were full, as were Shearwater and Edinburgh House at the time.
'All of the residents in this home have already exhausted all other options of care, we've all looked after our loved ones at home for as long as we can.
'There isn't any other choice and the decision to put your loved one in a residential home is never taken lightly.'
Christine Frampton, whose mother lives in Hilsea Lodge, added: 'Five years ago Portsmouth City Council failed to proceed in the closure of Hilsea Lodge due to lack of funding. Are the council confident they will have funding for re-development of the Edinburgh House site and Hilsea Lodge site?
'What would happen to these two sites if adequate funding was not available? Would they be left empty, sold off or would status quo prevail?'
The project will be funded in part from the council's capital budget which is used for more long-term investments, with the rest secured from external partners such as Homes England.