The site of a former Farsley care home should be used for either local authority or extra care housing for the elderly, councillors have said
Richmond House was closed last year, along with Home Lea House in Rothwell, in a bid to save the local authority just over £1.5m a year. But senior councillors on the council’s executive board have stressed that the site should continue to be used for social benefit.
Leeds Conservatives deputy leader Councillor Alan Lamb (Wetherby) called on officers continue to have ‘urgent conversations’ with Calverley & Farsley ward councillors Andrew and Amanda Carter on the development of proposals for the site.
Director of city development Martin Farmington agreed to investigate whether it would be feasible for the site to be used for extra care housing, considering that an adjacent facility was used for the same purpose. Leeds City Council officers are looking into future uses for the site.
Cllr Fiona Venner (Lab, Kirkstall) said the closure of Richmond House last October had gone smoothly. Residents had settled into new homes and there had been no compulsory redundancies during the closure process.
The current Richmond House building is currently earmarked for demolition. The size and layout of the building is one of the reasons why NHS pulling out of the home, as it cannot compete with larger newer facilities. It’s not expected that the building in its current form would accommodate any future use.
After the meeting, Cllr Peter Carlill (Lab, Calverley & Farsley) issued a statement on social media. He said: “Discussions are now ongoing about possible use of the site for council housing, either specifically for older people, or as a mix of more varied council housing.
“I am happy to support this as a proposed use. I have had a large amount of casework from local residents struggling to find affordable housing in our area – and this has only increased in recent months due to the cost of living crisis. This site could provide substantial affordable homes for people from our communities, allowing people to stay within the village, close to their friends, family and support network and the area they call home.
“I will continue to look at options with council officers, but will be pushing for an option that has the most benefit for the local community, and resolves the issues that residents in our area raise with me most often.”
Richmond House was a 20-bed residential service in Richmond Road. It offered short-term care and support to people who require convalescence following a hospital admission. Council officers last year said average occupancy since 2018/19 was 55 per cent and its gross budget was £742,000.
The closures have previously sparked a fierce political debate.
West Leeds Dispatch‘s Cutswatch series has been following council cuts over the past 18 months here.
Follow WLD’s ongoing coverage of the Richmond House closure here.