Allotment holders accept Workington care home plan
Last updated at 22:53, Thursday, 14 June 2012
Allotment holders in Workington have backed a plan which will see them turfed off their plots to make way for a housing scheme for elderly people.
Most of the 11 tenants of the Stoneleigh allotments attended a meeting with the town council, where they agreed to vacate the land to ensure the survival of the nearby Richmond Park care home.
Some tenants plan to give up their plots by September, and others will be moved to different allotment sites.
But, despite this show of community spirit, Cumbria County Council this week said it was still too early to say whether it would go ahead with a proposal to use the site to create extra care housing, similar to sheltered housing.
Richmond Park, on High Street, was saved from closure in April after a campaign by the Friends of Richmond Park.
Cumbria County Council had proposed closing the home as it was no longer fit for purpose, but the home’s group of supporters put forward a proposal to create a village for elderly people there.
The plan involved building extra-care housing on the allotments site, with private flats in a care setting, and upgrading the care home to provide a smooth transition for residents who can no longer live independently.
The town council manages the allotments, which are owned by Allerdale council.
The county council has not yet made a formal approach about the land.
But Gerald Humes, county and town councillor, asked the town council to consider what it thought of the plan to make negotiations easier later.
The town’s allotment sub-committee met with allotment holders to discuss the proposal.
Coun Carole Armstrong, sub-committee chairman, said some tenants planned to give up their plots by September and others would be moved to different sites.
She added: “Then we can get it cleared up and leave it for Allerdale and the county council to negotiate.”
The town council voted unanimously that it had no objections to negotiations starting between the other authorities.
Coun Armstrong said: “It might take three or four years for the county to negotiate about the land but this is one stumbling block out of the road.”
A county council spokesman said it was committed to working with Allerdale, the friends group and stakeholders to develop extra care housing in the Workington area.
He added: “The recent consultation process and associated work threw up a variety of possible options and potential sites, however we are not yet in a position to confirm any arrangements.
“We want to ensure that the council considers all possible options available before moving forward with a proposal that balances the needs of the local community with providing best value to the people of Cumbria.”
Carole Local, spokesman for the Friends of Richmond Park, welcomed the town council’s decision and said the friends would continue to work with the county council to show the benefits of using the allotments site.
She added: “It’s a step in the right direction. The town council can see the benefits of the scheme that we’re proposing.”
First published at 19:23, Thursday, 14 June 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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