Council says 'no' to more care homes
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 May 2011
NORTH Somerset Council is planning to stop any more care homes from being built in the district to reduce the amount of money spent on elderly care each year.
The authority claims the district attracts elderly people from across the country who come here to retire, but it means North Somerset residents have to foot the bill.
In the last financial year the council spent £30million on services for people over the age of 65.
Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, deputy leader and executive member for strategic planning, highways, economic development and housing, said: “One of the things we are not encouraging is more care homes in North Somerset.
“We find that we get people being imported from other areas into our care homes and North Somerset tax payers have to pick up the bill once they’ve run out of their own money.
“We actually have a surplus of places in care homes in North Somerset at present so our strategy is to encourage and find ways of helping our residents to stay in their own homes with support from carers, which of course most elderly people want to do anyway.”
The council has already successfully refused a handful of applications on the grounds that it has sufficient capacity in existing care homes.
It has also written the policy into its core strategy - a planning policy which will be used to guide development choices and decision making on planning applications in North Somerset until 2026.
Under the supporting healthy living and provision of health care facilities policy the document states, ‘making provision for the needs of an ageing population which will need access to a range of appropriate accommodation and a variety of support, but at the same time addressing the council’s objective to maximise independent living.’
Cllr Ap Rees added: “The problem is that North Somerset is seen as a nice place to retire to, which is all very well but the cost of care is a huge burden and drain on the rates. It’s one of our biggest financial costs in North Somerset and it’s taking a huge slice of our annual budget.
“While clearly we do see elderly people as a priority, our priority is for our own residents in North Somerset, not for people who come from elsewhere.”