Multi-million pound care plan scrapped

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

The future of care for the elderly in Derbyshire looks uncertain after the collapse of a multi-million pound deal to build hundreds of “five-star” apartments for older people.

Last year, developer Housing 21 signed an £83million contract with Derbyshire Council Council (DCC) to create 800 flats providing round-the-clock care.

However, the council scrapped the deal on Monday after Housing 21 revealed it could not afford to build nearly 700 of the apartments.

Council chiefs are now poised to launch a public consultation on the future of accommodation and care for the elderly.

Councillor Clare Neill, DCC’s cabinet member for adult social care, said: “After considering the information given to us by Housing 21, we made the decision to end the contract early.

“While it is regrettable, we now have an opportunity to shape the future of housing and support for older people across Derbyshire.

“We’ll be discussing the way forward next week and, if it’s agreed, we will shortly be asking for the views of people across the county about what they would like to see in their local areas.”

A council spokesman said future plans would focus on supporting people to live independently in their own homes while ensuring there is a good mix of residential accommodation across the county.

The deal, which was signed last April, was to build the 800 flats over two phases.

Housing 21 still intends to go ahead with phase one which will see the creation of 61 apartments in Long Eaton and 54 at Buxton.

But phase two – to build 685 flats all over Derbyshire – will not happen.

Bruce Moore, chief executive of Housing 21, said: “We understand the reasons why DCC has decided to reconsider its options rather than try to find another organisation to take on the remainder of the programme.

“We remain fully committed to working with DCC to build and operate the developments at Long Eaton and Buxton.”

The flats were aimed at older people who wanted to live independently with their own front door but have company and 24-hour care on site when needed.

Speaking last year when the proposals were revealed, Charles Jones, DCC’s then cabinet member for adult care, said: “We want as many people as possible to have their own front door and live independently for as long as possible in five-star accommodation and surroundings.

“Our plans mean couples would be able to stay together and have 24/7 on-site care if they need it and there would be an excellent mix of services available for older people in Derbyshire.”