Council says ‘no’ to more care homes
NORTH Somerset Council is planning to stop any more care homes from being built in the district to reduce the amount of money spent on elderly care each year.
The authority claims the district attracts elderly people from across the country who come here to retire, but it means North Somerset residents have to foot the bill.
In the last financial year the council spent �30million on services for people over the age of 65.
Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, deputy leader and executive member for strategic planning, highways, economic development and housing, said: “One of the things we are not encouraging is more care homes. We get people being imported from other areas into our care homes and North Somerset tax payers have to pick up the bill once they’ve run out of their own money.
“We have a surplus of places in our care homes at present so our strategy is to find ways of helping our residents to stay in their own homes with support from carers, which most elderly people want to do anyway.”
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He added: “North Somerset is seen as a nice place to retire to, but the cost of care is a huge burden and drain on the rates. It’s one of our biggest financial costs and it’s taking a huge slice of our annual budget.
“While we do see elderly people as a priority, our priority is for our own residents, not for people who come from elsewhere.”
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The council has written the policy into its Core Strategy - a planning policy which will be used to guide development choices and decision making on planning applications until 2026.
However, Barrow Gurney Parish Council is concerned this will affect the development of a care village in its parish.
Parish council chairman, Geoff Coombes said: “We support the care village where people can buy a retirement unit and then if, as they become more elderly, they need more specialist care they can transfer to another unit on the same development.
“They can get any level of care they need from sheltered accommodation, to nursing home, through to dementia care.
“We understand the concerns of North Somerset, but we hope the policy will not affect the care village, which is different from a residential home.” Barrow Gurney Parish Council has written to North Somerset Council to ask for a distinction between care homes and villages to be made in the Core Strategy document.