New care home in Aylsham has official opening

Reassurances have been made about the number of NHS beds included in a new care home which has been officially opened in Aylsham.

As radio and television personality Helen McDermott cut the ribbon on the new 86-bed St Michael's Court Care Home building, on Tuesday , bosses confirmed it does contain nine nursing beds which will partly replace those lost when St Michael's Hospital, which is on the same site, closes.

The care home is part of the long-awaited St Michael's Care Complex based near the current St Michael's Hospital site in Cawston Road, Aylsham, which will, on completion, include a health centre, a housing with care scheme, a nursing home and a community centre which will be available for use by local residents.

The first phase of creating the complex has now been completed with the opening of St Michael's Court which is being run by Runwood Homes.

The proposed closure of St Michael's Hospital and lack of community beds in earlier plans had fuelled a lot of local opposition.

But there was relief when plans were announced to pay for nine NHS beds in the care home on the site, rather than five as originally planned.

Logan Logeswaran managing director of Runwood Homes, said: 'As we have finished ahead of time, the dementia and residential beds will start to be filled very soon, while we hope to start filling the nursing beds around November time.'

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There to see the ribbon being cut on the new building was Rees Coghlan, who founded Aylsham Care Trust and who originally owned the land on which the new complex is being built, before donating it to the trust, who then sold it on to developers.

He said: 'It has taken a long time to get to this point. We started planning a care complex on this site 15 years ago and there have been lots of obstacles along the way, but in a way with the hospital closing, it has opened the door for the care complex.'

It is expected that the care complex will be completed by early winter 2011.