New homes in Northampton to offer supported living for vulnerable adults

The decision was given the go ahead by the borough council cabinet at The Guildhall
The decision was given the go ahead by the borough council cabinet at The Guildhall

Three new schemes in Northampton that will offer supported living for vulnerable adults have been approved by the borough council’s cabinet.

The proposed projects will offer new or upgraded accommodation for adults with brain injuries, mental health issues, autism, and complex learning or physical disabilities.

It comes after Northamptonshire County Council approached its borough counterparts seeking help to provide supported living accommodation at Billing Brook Road in Thorplands, Moray Lodge in Duston, and Eleanor Lodge in Delapré.

It will see the borough council become the registered housing provider, NPH take over the management of the properties themselves, while the care provision will continue to be commissioned and provided through the county council’s adult social care services - until the new unitary authorities will see the two councils merge in 2020.

Councillor Stephen Hibbert, borough council cabinet member for housing, said: “This follows close work we have done with NCC and NPH. With unitary authorities on the horizon, we are going to have to confront things like this more often.”

The ‘transformation’ of the three homes was a headline figure in the county council’s budget savings when first announced in December.

The biggest transformation is set for Moray Lodge. According to the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, in 2013 the property offered respite care for up to 17 adults recovering from mental illness. But NBC has now acquired the property from the county council, and will allocate £3million of capital funds from its Housing Revenue Account (HRA) to construct a new building.

It will provide ten apartments for people with acquired brain injuries and a further ten apartments for clients with mental health requirements. The borough council is seeking a grant subsidy from Homes England for £1.2million to contribute towards the costs.

The county council estimated that handing the management of the property to NPH would save it £114,000 in 2020/21, and a further £342,000 the following year.

Eleanor Lodge, which is run by Olympus Care, scored a ‘good’ rating in its most recent CQC inspection. It will now be leased to the borough council, and ‘re-purposed’ for supported living. The county council says this could save them £300,000 in its 2019/20 budget.

And Billing Brook Road will be a new build, for which NPH is currently holding a consultation prior to submitting a planning application. If approved, the £2.5million building would offer bungalows for adults with autism, with a separate building for staff and facilities.

Both Moray Lodge and Billing Brook Road will form part of the borough council’s housing portfolio once the work is completed, though NCC will retain nomination rights for a period of 30 years unless there is a change of use with respect to either property.

Speaking at the borough council cabinet meeting last night (June 12), Labour leader Danielle Stone said: “It’s always a pleasure to come along and approve something, and my heart was singing when I read the details of this project because it is really well thought through. We should be seeing more of this.

“I do have one slight concern though, as I want to know who will be monitoring this service. If we are leaving that to the county council, then I would caution against it.”

The Labour leader was told that adult social care services at the county council would continue to provide the health service and support for the three schemes.