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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 06/04/2004
Brightwells Gostrey Centre - Redevelopment of the East Street Area, Farnham



Summary & Purpose
This report, which has been considered by the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee, invites members to consider the issues arising from the East Street Redevelopment Project insofar as they impinge on the operation of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre, Farnham. These are:

1. the extent to which the Council wishes to support the Brightwells Gostrey Centre Committee in developing new services and premises;

2. the location of the new community facilities – are these to be retained on the current Brightwells Gostrey Centre site in refurbished premises, or in new-built premises on a site near South Street?;

3. the extent to which the Council is prepared to make additional capital resources to assist the re-provision/improvements of a new but larger centre - in both capital and revenue terms; and

4. the service implications, should the present centre have to close for a period before the new/refurbished premises become available.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
N/A
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive


APPENDIX J

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 6TH APRIL 2004

REFERENCE FROM COMMUNITY OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

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Title:
BRIGHTWELLS GOSTREY CENTRE
– REDEVELOPMENT OF THE EAST STREET AREA, FARNHAM

[Wards Affected: All Farnham Wards]
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Summary and purpose:

This report, which has been considered by the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee, invites members to consider the issues arising from the East Street Redevelopment Project insofar as they impinge on the operation of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre, Farnham. These are:

1. the extent to which the Council wishes to support the Brightwells Gostrey Centre Committee in developing new services and premises;

2. the location of the new community facilities – are these to be retained on the current Brightwells Gostrey Centre site in refurbished premises, or in new-built premises on a site near South Street?;

3. the extent to which the Council is prepared to make additional capital resources to assist the re-provision/improvements of a new but larger centre - in both capital and revenue terms; and

4. the service implications, should the present centre have to close for a period before the new/refurbished premises become available.

_________________________________________________________________________

E-Government implications:

There are no E-Government implications arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

There are potentially both capital and revenue resource implications arising from this report of significance to the Council. When the Council determines its vision for the Brightwells Gostrey Centre, officers will be able to provide advice on the financial implications arising.

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Introduction

1. The Brightwells Gostrey Centre is located in the East Street area of Farnham, close to the Redgrave Theatre (see location plan at Annexe 1). It is within the area that is subject to major redevelopment proposals. The Centre has two prime purposes:

a day centre for older people; and

a Meals-on-Wheels kitchen and administrative offices for the WRVS.

2. The Brightwells Gostrey Centre is the most heavily used day centre for older people in Waverley and is particularly well located, being in the centre of Farnham.

3. The Brightwells Gostrey Centre comprises the following:

Day Centre (all ground floor)

large dining-room with sitting area
two activity rooms (with sliding partition door between them)
kitchen (used in conjunction with the WRVS)
offices
storage space
enclosed patio garden
toilets – for clients and staff
bathroom
medical room
washing machine room
hair-dressing room
snack bar
parking for two mini-buses and staff cars

kitchen (used in conjunction with the day centre)
kitchen office
six small administrative offices on the first floor
meeting room
storage space
toilets
car parking and loading/unloading area

Previous Committee Decisions

4. The former Housing and Community Welfare Committee considered the future provision of these facilities at its meeting in January 2001. At that time, in order to assist thinking about Council requirements at the East Street redevelopment, members were asked about the facilities that needed to be included in a new building – should the present Brightwells Gostrey Centre be demolished as part of the wider regeneration programme.

5. The Committee concluded that the facilities currently provided for the purposes of the day centre and WRVS were adequate for their purpose. It was, however, considered that the proposal to provide a new centre would give rise to the opportunity to better configure/locate rooms and facilities within a new building, but that it was not proposed to enhance facilities further. It was considered that the size of the current facilities were about right and it would be appropriate, therefore, to re-provide a similar size building, though better configured with a larger kitchen, a better snack bar and additional storage space.

6. It was also considered that the location of a new centre would need to be close to public transport and as close to the town centre as possible. It was suggested that a new day centre did not need to be relocated in the East Street redevelopment, if an alternative central location in Farnham could be found.

7. It was also recognised that the issue of continuity of service was important and that it would be reasonable to expect that alternative premises should be made available before the closure of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre was required.

8. In light of these stated requirements, outlined by the then Housing and Community Welfare Committee, officers incorporated these matters in the East Street Development Brief.

Brightwells Gostrey Centre Aspirations

9. In the meantime, expectations about what might be achieved from the East Street Redevelopment have risen. The Brightwells Gostrey Committee has drawn-up a list of its requirements for a new centre and these include:

10. The requirements of the Brightwell Gostrey Committee are clearly in excess of what the Housing and Community Welfare Committee had anticipated in 2001.

11. As part of the East Street Regeneration Programme, the Design Brief stated that provision should be made for a new Day Centre with facilities at least equal to those currently provided for within the present centre. Such new provision would be funded by the developer – Crest Nicholson.

12. However, as outlined above, the Brightwells Gostrey Committee is seeking much more commodious accommodation and consideration needs to be given to the reasonableness of their request and the funding implications of their requirements – as they are clearly over and above those provided for within the Design Brief. It would also be true to say that the requirements of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre are well in excess of anything that the present day centres elsewhere in the Borough provide. By the same token, by re-providing on a like-for-like basis, the Brightwells Gostrey Centre will not enjoy the level of facilities provided at other day centres in the Borough.

13. More recently, these have been revisited and, following a meeting with officers, the Brightwells Gostrey Centre Committee is of the view that ideally:

14. The question therefore is whether the Council should be working with the Brightwells Gostrey Committee to secure a new two-story community centre on the existing site and, if so, the extent to which the Council is prepared to fund such a new facility?

Capital Funding of Day Centres

15. Over the years, the Council has adopted different approaches to the provision of day centres, in the light of circumstances prevailing at the time. The Farncombe Day Centre was built as part of the Bowring House sheltered housing scheme in the 1980’s before the landlord account (the Housing Revenue Account) was created and the Council’s flexibility was curtailed. The HRA can no longer support non-tenant activities such as this.

16. Over the last decade, the Council has supported the provision of new day centres by effectively providing ‘matched-funding’ to support day centre committees to secure new improved premises to meet identified needs. The day centre committees themselves have raised around 50% of the capital required to provide Haslewey in Haslemere, and Milford and Villages Day Centre. The Cranleigh Day Centre did receive capital funding from this Council, but the Committee raised most of the capital funding from external sources.

17. The Brightwells Gostrey Committee recognises that it is not in a position to raise significant amounts of capital funding in the timescale within which the Council wants to complete the East Street regeneration. Nevertheless, it recognises that it has a role to play in seeking funding for the building as best it can, and also to fund-raise for new equipment and facilities for the new centre.

Options

18. At present the options that appear to be open for consideration are:

a new centre to be built in the vicinity of South Street; or

a centre to remain on the present site and be refurbished.

19. Both these options are based on the premise that the size of the building will be around about the same size as the present building – though, hopefully, better configured and will therefore have more useable space; and that both the Brightwells Gostrey Centre and the WRVS will operate from the same premises.

20. An alternative option – though not consistent with the Council’s Design Brief - is that the Council works with the Brightwells Gostrey Centre to enable the development of a new-build centre on the current site.

21. It does appear likely that whatever conclusion is come to about the re-provision of the day centre, there could be a period when the present day centre and, possibly, the Meals-on-Wheels Service will not be operational from the present site.

22. The East Street Regeneration provides a unique opportunity to provide for the longer-term needs of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre. It is considered that a bold and imaginative approach should be taken to secure a new day/community centre for Farnham.

Officer Comment

23. The research organisation and ‘think tank’ DEMOS, has recently published a document entitled “The New Old – Why baby boomers won’t be pensioned off”. This document recognises the changing expectations of a new generation of people who will be moving into the ‘pensioner’ bracket in the next decade or two. The report is clear that service configuration for the future should not be based on old models of what has previously been considered acceptable for older people, because the ‘new old’ will be making very different demands on services. Unfortunately, apart from cautioning policy makers about planning for the future on old models of care and support, the report does not provide a new framework for the future. However, the report does invite policy makers – such as Councils like Waverley – to ask fundamental questions about whether ‘day centres for older people’ is really the model of service it wants to develop for the next 30 years? Perhaps there needs to be a more fundamental re-think of how (and indeed whether) this Council should be providing services for older people into the next few decades, before the Council concludes on the issue of whether a new Brightwells Gostrey Centre should be built on the current site.

24. In respect of the East Street redevelopment, the Council’s consistent position has been to offer the voluntary/community organisations affected by the proposed redevelopment alternative premises on a like-for-like basis. The Council’s Chief Officers Group is of the view that, should the Council move away from this principle, it will give rise to the opportunity to re-open the debate for expanding other voluntary/community facilities organisations affected by the East Street proposals.

Observations of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee

25. The Committee found itself in some difficulty in terms of being constrained by the re-provision on a strictly like-for-like basis and was minded to consider a move away from the current policy to address the Gostrey Club’s aspirations for, ideally, a new day centre on the present site. At the same time , it recognised (a) the implications of such a change of policy and (b) the need to be aware that future generations may not wish to avail themselves of the facilities provided in the traditional day centre to the same extent as hitherto.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive gives consideration to the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s view that the Brightwells Gostrey Centre be provided with a new build development on or near its existing site, having regard to the Gostrey Committee’s needs.

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Background Papers (DoH)

Correspondence from the Brightwells Gostrey Committee.

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Mr J Swanton Telephone: 01483 523375

E-mail: jswanton@waverley.gov.uk

comms/executive/2003-04/523