Developers have unveiled plans for a new £5million state-of-the-art care home in Horsham town.
Care UK say the centre in St Mark’s Lane, off North Heath Lane, will offer specialist dementia care and create around 80 full time jobs for local people.
The existing Evelyn Lancaster House would be demolished and replaced by a new facility which would near enough double resident capacity from 42 to 80.
Earlier this year families were left ‘unnecessarily distressed’ when previous owners Southern Housing Group told residents they would have to leave the home.
David Madden, who attended a public exhibition last week on behalf of the head of care home development at Care UK, said: “Evelyn Lancaster House provided sheltered accommodation for older people, this would be a specific care home which would be providing a mix of residential nursing and also dementia care in one single location.
“It provides a care pathway for older people which enables them to remain within the same site as their care needs change.”
The forecasted number of dementia cases across Horsham and Mid Sussex for 2011/12 was 3,247, with a diagnostic rate of 4.3.3 per cent, according to figures from the local clinical commissioning group.
By 2014/15 cases are due to climb to 3,459. The diagnostic rate is not forecasted to change.
Globally, someone is diagnosed with the disease every four seconds and cases are expected to soar from 44 million now to 135 million by 2050.
Dementia already costs the world £370billion each year.
Mr Madden said there is ‘huge demand across the country’ for specialist dementia care that the new home would offer.
He continued: “The proportion of the elderly population who are developing dementia is increasing all the time.”
The company promises to offer personal dementia care plans for residents which will be regularly reviewed and updated.
Activity based care, a safe and secure home and strong family involvement are key to Care UK’s ethos.
Mr Madden added the care home would not rule out taking in people from outside the area.
The news of a new home with specialist dementia care has been welcomed by the Sussex Alzheimer’s Society.
Elisa Vaughan, operations manager, said: “It is great to see that Care UK is prioritising the needs of people with dementia.
“With around 80 per cent of people in care homes having the condition, it’s not something that can be ignored.
“Staff trained in dementia can ensure that people with the condition are receiving the care they need, while changes to the environment can make a real difference in helping ensure people with dementia feel at home. This is extremely important as it reduces the likelihood of stress or agitation.”
She added: “What we’d ultimately like to see is for all care homes to be dementia friendly and for all staff to be fully trained in dementia care.”
No application has been submitted but officials aim to in early 2014.
Justin Daley, construction project manager behind the plans, said the home is estimated to cost between £4.5million and £5million and could be open in 2015.
In April 21 vulnerable residents were told they would have to leave Evelyn Lancaster House.
Southern Housing Group, which previously looked after the home, claimed there was ‘decreased demand’ for services.
At the time regional director Guy Collar said: “Due to the decreased demand for the services at Evelyn Lancaster House, Southern Housing Group has had to review its future.
“The scheme has become outdated and half of the units are empty. There are proposals to completely refurbish the building, which means, it must be vacant before any works can commence.”
The contract for care provision was terminated on June 15.
The group could not confirm at the time whether it would re-open as a care home - sparking concern among locals about the future of the building.
Horsham district councillor Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) said: “Care UK has brought forward very exciting plans for their planned £5million home with specialist dementia care. And with an ageing population it is exactly what we need.
“In April of this year things had been handled, on anyone’s interpretation, poorly by Southern Housing with residents and their families left unnecessarily distressed and looking for answers having suddenly been unexpectedly notified that the former home was closing. That gave families next to no time to plan.
“It is worth underlining that Southern UK don’t have anything to do with what is being proposed now for the site.”
He continued: “These new plans by Care UK will bring facilities to the families and that are fit for purpose in a sustainable location.
“Due to the type of development the planning matters may well be determined at a Planning Committee once a planning application is submitted.
“However, Care UK are to be congratulated for bringing forward these plans that will provide facilities that are fit for purpose.”
In response to Mr Mitchell’s remarks, Southern Housing Group regional director Guy Collar said: “We are equally excited and pleased about the plans for the site but rather perplexed by this councillor’s comments.
“From the outset we have been working closely with Care UK, Horsham District Council and Saxon Weald to enable the plans for this scheme to be progressed. Having accepted that unfortunately, Evelyn Lancaster House had no future in its current format, we dedicated time and effort to consulting with residents and their families to ensure all of the residents were appropriately rehoused in accommodation more suitable for their future needs.
“We have acted immediately on any concerns or complaints received from residents, and our staff have been complimented on a number of occasions for their compassionate handling of this delicate matter.
“We successfully found new and suitable accommodation for all residents and we are now supporting Care UK with their public consultation on the future plans for Evelyn Lancaster House. Members of staff also recently attended the public exhibition where the plans were formally unveiled.
“We will make contact with the councillor so we can explain this in greater detail as there may be a lack of understanding about our approach and the reasons for it.”