£2m for 62 new homes as council boss calls residential care a 'last resort'

An aerial view of the land north-east of Yarmouth Road, Stalham

An aerial view of the land north-east of Yarmouth Road, Stalham - Credit: Google

Council leaders have agreed to pump £2m into creating more than 60 new homes where Norfolk people with social care needs can live independently.

Such schemes, Norfolk County Council says, allow people to live in apartments, with care and support available on site should they need it.

The council is spending £29m on its Independent Living programme and says Norfolk needs 2,842 independent living units by 2028, with 486 in North Norfolk.

At a meeting on Monday, August 2, the Conservative-controlled cabinet agreed to put just over £2m into a 62-apartment scheme in Stalham - made up of 30 two-bed flats and 32 one-bed flats on a two-acre site off Yarmouth Road.

The scheme would be run and managed by Housing 21 and the council says priority will be given to people with links to North Norfolk.

James Bullion, executive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council.

James Bullion, executive director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council


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James Bullion, the council's director of adult social care, said: "Increasingly, as we work with people, they tell us their preference is to stay living at home, or if they can't stay at home, to live in a homely environment, which is a house of their own with their own front door.

"The experience of the last year, with the pandemic, has emphasised again that residential care, in most people's eyes, is a last resort.

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"They would much rather be in a place where they have a stake in terms of ownership or where they have firm rights of residence."

However, the proposals have sparked opposition, with Stalham Town Council objecting.

The town council has said, in its objection to the planning application lodged with North Norfolk District Council: "This will be overpowering at such a height, and will be very apparent on the local skyline completely dominating that end of the town.

“The council recognises that social care and assisted living is an area of development that needs addressing, but to have such a large isolated development will not be supported, and not in this location.”

Bill Borrett

Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for adult social care. - Credit: Submitted

Bill Borrett, the county council's cabinet member for adult social care, said there had been amendments made to the initial plans following discussions.

If the scheme does get planning permission, then work to build it would start in December 2021 and the scheme would be completed by summer 2023.

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