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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 19/06/2006
Brightwells Gostrey Centre, Farnham



APPENDIX E
Waverley Borough Council

COMMUNITY OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
– 19th June 2006
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Title:
BRIGHTWELLS GOSTREY CENTRE, FARNHAM
[Wards Affected: Farnham Wards]

Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972

The Annexe to this report contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded during the item to which the report relates, as specified in Paragraph 3 of Part I of the revised Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, viz:-
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Summary and purpose:

The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee asked officers to undertake some work to ascertain the potential costs of providing a new building for the Brightwells Gostrey Centre in Farnham, and to look at alternatives. This report advises on this matter and provides an update in respect of the proposals for the centre as part of the East Street regeneration programme.
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Environmental implications:

Any property redevelopment has significant environmental implications.

Social / community implications:

There is a growing population of people over retirement age, many of whom are living better and healthier lives with greater aspirations and expectation than ever before. One of the challenges for service providers is to determine how the needs of the active elderly can be met, whilst taking account of the needs of very frail, elderly people who need high levels of care and support to help them retain their independence and dignity. Experience suggests that these two groups of clients do not integrate well in one building.

E-Government implications:

There are none arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

There are potentially significant capital resource implications arising from this report, which are detailed at paragraphs 42-52 and 58-61, and in the (Exempt) Annexe.
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Introduction

1. At the last meeting, members received a short report on issues surrounding the Brightwells Gostrey Centre mindful of progress being made in relation to the East Street Regeneration Project in Farnham. At its meeting on 17th May, the Council instructed officers to make formal reports to the Council on 18th July about a range of matters concerning the proposed East Street Regeneration scheme, which would include, inter alia, options for the Brightwells Gostrey Centre.

Context – Waverley’s Role in Day Centre Provision

2. Members will also be considering a report on the “Development of Community Based Services for Older People” at this meeting. Whilst the East Street Regeneration Project gives rise to the opportunity to consider the needs of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre in Farnham, the Council also needs to make some strategic decisions about how it sees its role in relation to day centres into the future. Issues regarding needs of the Cranleigh and Farncombe Day Centres will be coming to the fore in the coming years and these sites will also need capital investment to maintain/improve the premises.

3. Waverley continues to face a challenging future in relation to both revenue and capital finance. The Council has been keen to support day centres as a matter of principle, but has been less keen to increase revenue grant-aid to day centres, which has been a cause of considerable concern to the various day centre committees.

4. The Council has no statutory duty to provide specialist day centres for older people, but has done so as a wider agreement with Surrey County Council. The basis of that earlier agreement many years ago (some 30 years) no longer holds. One of the fundamental questions that the Council needs to ask itself is whether it should be involved in the provision of day centres at all? The statutory responsibility for day centres lies with Surrey County Council.

5. In the Waverley context, funding for day centres comes from this Council and the day centre committees secure additional income through fees and charges, grants from charitable trusts, the Waverley Voluntary Grants Panel, and other fund-raising events. Other day centres in Surrey benefit from grant-aid from the County Council, but for historic reasons the Waverley centres do not fare well by comparison.

6. An alternative approach that Waverley could adopt would be to support older people in the community. Waverley could focus its resources on developing activities and services for older people in various facilities – such as leisure centres, parks and gardens, sheltered housing schemes etc that it owns and/or manages.

7. There is therefore a clear issue of principle that needs to be determined, before the Council commits considerable resources – should Waverley Borough Council continue to support day centre activities as it has previously, when there are other priority areas that the Council is clearly responsible for that also need investment?

Day Centre Services and Market Segmentation

8. The Government’s ‘Better Government for Older People’ project decided that an ‘older person’ was someone over the age of 50. ‘Older People’ therefore can be anyone aged from 50 – 100+. Given this wide age range it is not possible for services aimed at ‘older people’ to manage to cover all of the needs, requirements, aspirations and expectations of such a wide and diverse group of people.

9. Members may recall the presentation given by the think-tank DEMOS, which identified the cultural changes that have occurred in the post-war era and the changing attitudes to public services and customer expectations. What is clear is that one centre is unlikely to cater for the needs of all ‘older people’ – and so the question that has to be asked is what segment of the ‘older people’ market are we trying to serve?

10. One of the features of most of the day centres in Waverley is that they tend to deal with elderly people who are frail. Some of these are people who started coming the centres 10 years or more ago and have aged. Of necessity, the centres have worked to generate funding to provide care assistants to look after these elderly customers. However, the centres cannot be confident of receiving such funding on an on-going basis.

11. A reality of dealing with a frail elderly customer base is that such centres do not attract active ‘younger’ older people.

12. Perhaps the following diagram – though something of a caricature - tries to illustrate the breadth of the ‘older person’ market place:

Age Profile50+Late 60/70s70/80s70/80sLate 80/90s80/90/
100s
Still young really!Feeling olderGetting olderBecoming frail and elderlyVery Frail ElderlyVery Frail Elderly
Day ServicesGetting on with lifeLeisure Centres and other activitiesTraditional Day CentreTraditional Day CentreDay CareDay Hospital
Housing ServicesLiving at HomeLiving at home – possibly with some supportSheltered HousingExtra Care Sheltered HousingResidential Care HomeNursing Home

13. Of course, all people are different – some are hale and hearty into their 80s and 90s; whereas some people can become very frail in their late 60s and 70s. And it is this complexity and variety of need that makes it difficult for one facility to provide for ‘older people’ as a whole.

14. What is clear is that Day Hospital services (therapeutic facilities) are clearly the responsibility of the Primary Care Trust. Day care, which provides services for people who need ‘care’ – perhaps toileting, dressing, feeding, support when walking – is the responsibility of the Social Services authority. Traditional day centres are normally the responsibility of the County Council – but, as explained above, in Surrey this function has been carried out by borough and district councils.

15. In recent years, Brightwells Gostrey Centre has tended to cater for a fairly frail elderly client group. Experience in Waverley and elsewhere shows that it is difficult to mix different needs groups because the needs and expectations of active older people are very different from the frail elderly.

16. The Council needs to consider, again as a matter of principle and policy, whether it wants to support specialist day centres for the frail elderly, or whether it wants to target its resources on the active elderly?

Alternative Options for Providing Day Services for Older People

17. There are alternative approaches to providing day services for older people. Some of these are outlined in the earlier report on developing day services. The approach to providing day services will depend on the market segment that one is trying to provide for – for example, services for younger older people might include arts and crafts, physical activities, mental stimulation and cultural activities. None of these activities need a dedicated day centre or community centre as such activities are available in leisure centres, arts centres, community centres, village halls, etc. The needs of this market segment could be addressed through an active promotion of these activities to older people more generally.

18. The Brightwells Gostrey Centre – like most of the Waverley day centres – provide service for people who are becoming more frail and elderly. To meet the needs of this group it is helpful to have a settled location with which customers are familiar. A catering kitchen that meets health and safety requirements is a prerequisite, and specialist facilities – like a specialist bath/shower room, medical room and administrative offices are necessary. Other facilities – lounge area, dining room, quiet room and activities room/area are normal features. Good access is necessary.

19. However, the cost of a new day centre is not inconsiderable and if one is to make a significant investment into a new building, it is important to optimise the use of the building. Most day centre activities for the present client group tends take place in the morning to the mid-afternoon. Day Centres tend to be less well used in the late afternoon and evening – though some day centres let out the premises to generate income. There is a case to develop a more ‘community centre’ approach, as has been adopted at Haslemere at the Haslewey Centre, where Age Concern Haslemere and District is the most regular and major user of the Centre, but the centre is open to other groups as well. This affords the opportunity for the building to be used by more people from a wider age range. However, it should be noted that mixed use of buildings often find that conflicts arise between the different user groups.

The Current Situation

20. When the Council first gave consideration to the proposals for the redevelopment of the East Street area of Farnham, it agreed that the Brightwells Gostrey Centre (BGC) should be re-provided on a ‘like-for-like basis’. The Masterplan, to which the Council has given landlord sanction, proposed that the BGC should remain on its current site.

21. Some time ago, Crest Nicholson provided plans for public consultation, which gave rise to either a remodelling of the existing centre, or the possibility of a new-build replacement in South Street, Farnham, with a floor size comparable to the existing centre – in line with the Council’s stated requirement.

22. The BGC Committee was disappointed by the proposals for replacement on a like-for-like basis. The Committee is of the view that the redevelopment of East Street offers a unique opportunity to provide a new build community centre appropriate to the 21st century. The BGC committee pointed out that:

Farnham is the largest centre of population in the Borough; the Borough has an ageing population that is increasing numerically; the Council has generously supported the provision of new centres at Milford and Haslemere, both of which provide excellent facilities for the community; Farnham residents should be benefiting from the ‘Farnham Dividend’ arising from the redevelopment of the East Street area; the present building – especially the first floor of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre – is in poor condition and has very poor access and layout, none of which would be resolved by largely cosmetic changes to the frontage of the existing building; and

a new building should have a larger floor space than the existing premises, in order to provide better and improved facilities, services and opportunities for development. It is considered that a replacement centre should be of similar size to that at Milford and Haslemere.

23. The desire of the BGC Committee for larger new premises runs counter to the Council’s initial decision that any re-provision of these facilities should be on a ‘like for like’ basis. Thus far, Council has not agreed to change its brief with its development partner – Crest Nicholson - in this respect.

24. The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered this matter further at its meeting on 1st February 2005 and asked the Executive to support the provision of a new centre for the BGC. The Executive subsequently resolved that

the Brightwells Gostrey Centre be provided with a new-build development on or near its existing site, having regard to the reasonable needs of the Brightwells Gostrey Committee; and

officers be requested to undertake a feasibility study, based on the level of facilities provided at Haslewey and Milford and Villages Day Centres, draw up plans and make a financial appraisal for the provision of a new day centre, including continuing financial viability.

25. Since that time, the architect who designed both Milford and Villages Day Centre and Haslewey has been asked to work-up plans to re-build the BGC on the existing site (in the absence of other land being identified) taking into account their need to adapt and develop their service to meet the changing needs of older people in the future. The site is constrained and it is assumed that there is no opportunity to extend the site further.

26. Outline plans were drawn-up to bring the size of the proposed new building to 647m2, which is in line with the two newest day centres in Waverley, and increased the existing space of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre by 20%. However, due to the constraints of the site, the new building would have to be on two storeys. This, in turn, gives rise to a need for a fire-escape stairwell, corridors, lifts, and first-floor toilet facilities, which absorb much of the additional 20% of floor space. Because the two other new day centres are single storey buildings, they do not lose floor space for these additional requirements arising from first-floor accommodation. Thus, whilst in theory the overall floor area for a new two-storey BGC would be of comparable size to the two other new centres, in fact it would not provide as much useful/operational space because of the need for circulation, access and duplicate toilet facilities.

27. A new two-storey BGC would therefore need to be at least 711m2 to accommodate the requirements of the centre, plus the circulation space etc arising from building a first floor. This could be achieved by extending the upstairs foot-print to match the ground floor. Additional floor space would, of course, give rise to additional capital costs.

28. Operational difficulties will arise from having services provided for older people on two floors (though these are not insurmountable) viz:
ensuring the safety of frail and vulnerable elderly people using the lift/stairs;
greater risk in the event of an evacuation situation;
for the centre to provide a sustainable community service in the future, with a good mix of customers and activities, services for frail elderly people need to be discreet. The only option with these plans is to provide day care in the upstairs rooms, this is not ideal from a fire safety point of view, nor for providing meals (the kitchen is on the ground floor);
limited flexibility with the space;
lack of parking;
poor access, drop off points and parking for centre minibuses and Hoppa;
lack of storage space.

29. In order to design the building to meet the needs of the BGC, it has not been possible to incorporate the requirements of the WRVS Meals-on-Wheels service. Whilst the WRVS would like to find alternative accommodation for their operation, it is unlikely that such an option is affordable. Any plans for a replacement BGC would need to have regard to the service requirements of the WRVS.

30. Officers have concluded that to meet the aspirations of the BGC and taking account of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s decision (of 1st February 2005), and that of the Executive’s subsequent decision (see paragraph 24 above), it is not practicable to provide a satisfactory new build centre on the existing site, whilst requiring a facility that is of a similar size to Haslewey or Milford and Villages Day Centre. It should also be noted that both these centres have reasonable car parking facilities, and there is no scope for much car parking space at the Brightwells Gostrey site, if redeveloped to maximise internal floor space.

31. Capital costs estimates for a new build centre are detailed in the (Exempt) Annexe.

32. Officers have been trying to identify other potential sites in Farnham, which might be suitable for a new-build day centre development. However, this has not borne fruit.

33. The BGC is now showing its age and is in need of investment. The building is also poorly configured to serve as a modern centre. For example the facilities do not comply with the regulations for disabled access, the flat roof is deteriorating and the access to the first-floor, which is used primarily by the WRVS, is only by narrow stairs, which is not suitable for elderly service users to attempt to use.

34. In spring 2006, and following the decision of Sainsbury’s to refurbish its store in South Street, Farnham, Crest Nicholson have produced further plans. The proposal in respect of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre is that it should remain in situ and be slightly extended, with a new frontage.

35. The plans issued by Crest Nicholson show that the Brightwells Gostrey Centre is to be maintained in its current position. The Brightwells Gostrey Centre block on the corner of South Street and Brightwells Road has been reduced in width, without reducing the overall space available to the centre. Major works to the building will be required to make the changes that Crest Nicholson is proposing.

36. It should be made clear that the proposals put forward by Crest Nicholson are entirely in accordance with the Council’s Master Plan and Brief.

Alternative Building Options

37. The present Masterplan for the East Street Regeneration Project plans for part of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre to be demolished in order to provide vehicular access. The entrance lobby, toilet facilities, bathroom and medical room are all due to be removed. A ‘do nothing’ option is therefore not available to the Council. Effectively the ‘do nothing’ option is the refurbishment of the day centre on a like-for-like basis.

38. The options available to the Council are:

39. Option A has no additional financial implications as they have already been accounted for in the East Street Regeneration funding proposals.

40. The capital costs associated with Option B are considered in the (Exempt) Annexe. Clearly there would need to be an injection of additional funding in order to cover the capital costs of a replacement centre.

41. A new larger centre on a different site (Option C) would cost more than Option B, but some of those costs could be mitigated by the disposal of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre building/site. As with Option B additional capital contributions could be sought from other sources.

Sources of Capital Funding

42. The proposal to refurbish the Brightwells Gostrey Centre as part of the Council’s East Street Regeneration project would not have capital implications, as these costs are already incorporated within Crest Nicholson’s regeneration proposals.

43. However, should the Council decide that it wants to provide a new larger day centre in Farnham there would be significant capital implications. A new day centre facility, akin to that at Milford or Haslemere, would cost in excess of 1,000,000 (excluding land acquisition).

44. It has been the practice of the Council to work in partnership with the relevant day centre committee to secure capital funding for the new day centres. In respect of Milford and Villages Day Centre the Council contributed some 385,000 towards the costs of the centre, which was less than 50% of the capital costs at the time. Similarly with Haslewey, the Council contributed c400,000 plus the lease of the land at a peppercorn rent. The 400,000 again was less than 50% of the construction costs. Both centres had spent many years fund-raising for their new centre.

45. Thus far, the Brightwells Gostrey Centre Committee has indicated that it believes it could contribute towards the capital cost of a new centre through fund-raising and making application to various grant making trusts. However, it is impossible for the BGC Committee to make serious approaches to funding bodies without detailed proposals and costings. The BGC Committee considers that a sum in the order of 400 – 500,000 could be achievable over time. Even assuming this to be the case, there would be a shortfall of capital resources to fund a new build centre. The Council would need to fund this shortfall and be prepared to underwrite any further shortfall in funds should the BGC not be successful in securing its target figure. An alternative to this would be for the Council and the BGC to agree not to start any new-build works until such time as the BGC had raised its element of the capital resources.

46. In order to successfully fund-raise and be eligible for capital grants, the BGC Committee will need to be able to demonstrate a legal interest in the property and so the Council will need to enter into a long-lease arrangement with the BGC Committee, as has been the practice elsewhere.

47. Informal discussions with officers at Surrey County Council and the Primary Care Trust indicate that capital contributions from these sources are unlikely. However, it may be that the local county councillors may be prepared to contribute from their budget allocation.

Revenue Costs

48. A larger facility may give rise to additional revenue costs, although a new or refurbished facility may give rise to the opportunity to generate further revenue income.

49. As members will be aware, Waverley makes a revenue grant of c 43,000 per annum to each of the five core day centres. In the case of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre this is around about one-third of its annual revenue income. Other revenue is generated from sales of meals and refreshments, charges for other services (such as bathing and transport), general fund-raising and grants from other bodies. Maintaining a revenue stream of this significance is no mean feat.

50. Officers at Surrey County Council’s Adults and Community Care have indicated that any revenue contribution towards the centre would have to be linked to a contract providing services that SCC wishes to purchase. Herein lies a dilemma, because SCC may be interested in purchasing day care services for people with dementia, but in order for the day centre to provide that service, it would need to employ staff to do so. The two issues are: is this one of the client groups the BGC centre and Waverley wants to support ?; and in order to provide this service most of the income generated from SCC would be used up on staff. Indeed, most additional funding from statutory sources is likely to be linked to additional service provision – and so much of the extra income generated is likely to be absorbed by the provision of extra services.

51. It is interesting to note by comparison, that the day centre services at Elmbridge have a contract with Surrey County Council to provide 50 places for high need people each day across their 7 day centres. The contract value is c112,000. However, Elmbridge Council is spending over 1,000,000 per annum on its day centre services. The 112,000 contract sum effectively pays for care assistants providing services for the high need clients.

Temporary Relocation of Services from the Brightwells Gostrey Centre

52. Whatever course of action is taken – be it redevelopment of the site or a refurbishment of the existing centre – it is highly likely that the services currently provided from the Brightwells Gostrey Centre will have to be relocated on a temporary basis.

53. As yet no premises have been found that will provide an ideal alternative for the day centre. However, for the duration of the works to the Brightwells Gostrey Centre, it would be possible to continue to provide a suite of day centre services by using different venues for different elements on different days. The facilities that could be made available are, for example:-

assisted bathing at Riverside Court and Falkner Court;
lunch clubs at Church House, Riverside Court, Church Halls, Memorial Hall; St Andrews Church;
activities at Memorial Hall, Church House, The Maltings, Church Halls, St Andrews Church;
administration/office accommodation at Farnham Locality Office.

54. Another body that would need to find temporary alternative accommodation would be the WRVS meals-on-wheels operation.

55. There are a number of other user groups that book the Brightwells Gostrey Centre at evenings and weekends. These groups will need to be put on notice that they need to find alternative premises for the duration of any works. In turn this will result in a loss of income to the Brightwells Gostrey Centre.

56. These alternative arrangements will inevitably result in additional costs associated with temporary relocation of services and also a loss of income.

Resource Implications

57. Potentially there are both capital and revenue implications arising from this report.

58. The Council’s brief, in respect of the East Street Project, was for Crest Nicholson to provide the Brightwells Gostrey Centre with facilities on a like-for-like basis, which will be funded within the cost envelope for the redevelopment scheme.

59. However, the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Executive are suggesting that the Council should go beyond this by providing larger and better facilities, ideally in a new build centre. It appears that a new build on the current site is not a viable option as it does not actually generate much additional useable space. So the alternative would be to find an alternative site. This option will give rise to an significant capital requirement of well over 1,000,000 – however, the Brightwells Gostrey Centre could be disposed of to help defray the costs of a new centre.

60. Once it is known when the works to the Brightwells Gostrey Centre are likely to start and their duration, an assessment of the revenue costs associated with its temporary relocation can be assessed and budget provision made.

Officer Comment

61. The East Street Regeneration project as presently proposed means that part of the Brightwells Gostrey Centre will be demolished and, in order to replace the toilets, bathing facilities and entrance lobby Crest Nicholson intend to undertake significant refurbishment works.

62. At the instruction of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee officers have explored the possibility of other sites on which to develop a new-build centre. No sites are readily available. If this option is to be explored further, it is clear that this option has, of necessity, to be a medium – longer term project, because the East Street Regeneration project, if it proceeds, will move forward faster than the time required to find a new site for the BGC and undertake a new build project.

63. The Council’s formal position is that some years ago, it requested Crest Nicholson to make re-provision plans for the BGC on a like-for-like basis. The Council has not made any formal resolutions to the contrary since then.

64. However, since that time, the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Executive have both expressed a wish to support the development of a much better and larger facility – more akin to those provided at Haslewey in Haslemere and Milford and Villages Day Centre in Milford.

65. As yet there is no capital provision in the Council’s budget for such aspirations.

66. The desire to support the re-provision of a new day centre/community centre in Farnham should not be seen in isolation. The committee of Age Concern Cranleigh is considering its position in respect of the Cranleigh Day Centre and whether those facilities are fit-for-purpose into the future; and Farncombe Day Centre (owned by the Council) will also need capital works in the coming years.

67. Any new facilities need to take into account changing demographics, and be in tune with the local and national agendas in order to be fit for purpose now and into the future. (see separate report “Developing Community Based Services for Older People”)

68. A new day centre in Farnham would require a considerable capital investment and may well have revenue implications. It is the view of Management Team that the Council needs to undertake a strategic review of day services for older people mindful of the issues raised in the separate report to this committee - “Developing Community Based Services for Older People”, before it commits itself to such a capital investment. It also needs to formally ascertain from its partners – Surrey County Council and the Primary Care Trust – the likelihood of capital and revenue contributions from these sources – though these seem unlikely to be forthcoming, mindful of their financial pressures. 69. It is important for this Council to be clear about whether it is intending to provide a community/social contact centre for older people with a range of facilities, or a specialist centre for the frail and very elderly people.

70. Management Team appreciate the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s wish to support the provision of a new BGC for Farnham, which accords with the aspirations of the Executive. However, given the financial situation of the Council and competing priorities, it is the view of Management Team that the Council’s original decision that the BGC should be provided for on a like-for-like basis as part of the East Street regeneration project should be adhered to, until such time as a strategic review of the Council’s approach to day services for older people is concluded.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

1. before the Council considers making significant capital investment in a new centre, the Council should undertake a review of its approach to supporting day centres and activities for older people;

2. until that review has been undertaken, the Council continues to maintain its original decision that the Brightwells Gostrey Centre should be refurbished as part of the East Street Regeneration project on a like-for-like basis , as originally proposed;

3. the Committee notes the estimated capital requirements of providing a new Brightwells Gostrey Centre; and

4. the Executive revisits proposals for a new Brightwells Gostrey Centre building once it has received a report following a strategic review of its approach to day services for older people.

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Background Papers (DoH)

Crest Nicholson’s “Farnham East Street Regeneration” document dated 2nd May 2006.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Stephen Thwaites Telephone: 01483 523463
E-mail: sthwaites@waverley.gov.uk
Name: Paul Wenham Telephone: 01483 523238
E-mail: pwenham@waverley.gov.uk
Name: Peter Maudsley Telephone: 01483 523398
E-mail: pmaudsley@waverley.gov.uk
Name: David January Telephone: 01483 523361
E-mail: djanuary@waverley.gov.uk

comms/o&s2/2006-07/023