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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Plan for £5m elderly housing scheme in Workington

Plans are being drawn up to use the site of Workington’s former fire station for a new £5 million housing development for the elderly.

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ELDERLY CARE: Richard Parry, Cumbria County Council’s director of health and care services, and Councillor Beth Furneaux, cabinet member for health and care services, outside the former Workington fire station

Cumbria County Council wants to create the 40-apartment development, similar to sheltered housing, on the King Street site and in neighbouring Cavendish House, which is a respite centre for people with learning difficulties.

The project is expected to take two years.

If the council’s cabinet agrees on Thursday, it will begin exploring the possibility of using the site.

Planning permission could be granted by December and work started early next year.

Care staff would be on site around the clock to support people living independently when they can no longer live on their own.

The council hopes that the development will encourage social landlords and private developers to build more similar schemes.

It said that Cavendish House needed updating and it would talk to 22 users and their families to find the best way to replace it, although it would be at least 2015 before changes were made to the existing service.

Funding could come from the county council, housing association and the Government.

Councillor Beth Furneaux, cabinet member for health and care services, said: “The location is great because it is pretty close to the town centre.”

The council announced plans to build a housing facility in Workington in 2011, when consultation was launched over possible closure of three care homes, including Richmond Park on High Street.

Richmond Park was saved after a campaign by supporters, and the group Friends of Richmond Park has been talking with the council about the home’s future and the development of extra care housing.

A proposal to build on allotment land behind the home was not pursued because of ownership and site issues.

The old fire station is on temporary lease to Workington Transport Heritage Trust.

The proposed site is bordered by the council’s derelict Fieldside House, on Elizabeth Street, and a warehouse, owned by Impact Housing.

It is not known whether these buildings would be incorporated into the plan.

Residents of Francis Croft, whose homes butt against the planned development site, would be consulted, the council said.

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