THE future of an £11.2 million extra care facility in Romsey, to be built on the site of the controversially closed Nightingale Lodge, will be revealed next week.
County councillor Mark Cooper will be demanding answers from civic chiefs at the council’s Annual General Meeting in Winchester next Thursday.
Work on the site is still yet to begin, even though the scheme took a massive leap forward after a £1.62 million Affordable Housing Grant was received from Test Valley Borough Council last December.
And following the grant, assurances were made from the county council, which closed the inadequately-facilitated Greatbridge Road care home, to progress the scheme on the vacant site.
However, a planning application is still to be submitted and no new information about the proposals has been published since then.
Cllr Cooper said: “Whilst I appreciate it takes time to assemble the funding streams to provide extra care facilities for our older residents, it is also a fact that when the old Nightingale Lodge closed down the county council undertook to build something much better.
“The site has been semi-derelict for so long. It has been three years now and it is not a good use of a council and community asset.”
As reported, the total scheme, being undertaken by the county council and housing association Family Mosaic, will provide 54 affordable rented extra care-assisted flats, a restaurant, communal spaces and a new, independently-run, day service facility.
In 2013, when the decision to close the care home was announced, protesters rallied outside the civic offices in Winchester.
Nevertheless councillors unanimously voted to shut Nightingale Lodge, Bulmer House, in Petersfield, and Basingstoke’s Deeside care home.
Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “The former Nightingale Lodge site presents an exciting opportunity to develop dedicated accommodation for older people with care and support needs in Romsey.
"Current plans are for the development of 54 purpose-built apartments, alongside a new day services facility, restaurant and communal spaces.
"The new facility will be a worthy replacement of the old fashioned and outdated Nightingale Lodge residential home.
“To date, the County Council has committed the majority of investment in this project, at around £6 million - and we anticipate our total investment in the development will be in excess of this figure.
"We are grateful for the contribution from Test Valley Borough Council towards this project.
“However, we are not as far forward with the development of the scheme as we would have hoped to be at this time.
"This is due to the significant policy and financial changes in the affordable and supported housing sector over the last few months, which are affecting the development of affordable housing - and in particular the development of specialist accommodation, such as Extra-Care, not just in Romsey, but in many parts of the country.
“We remain absolutely committed to the project which will provide very modern Extra Care facilities available for rent, as well as for sale. Romsey remains a priority area for our Extra Care investment, and we will continue our detailed discussions with Test Valley Borough Council and the other agencies involved to explore all available options to help take this scheme forward.”