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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 07/03/2006
Rowland House, Cranleigh



APPENDIX L
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE – 7TH MARCH 2006
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Title:
ROWLAND HOUSE, CRANLEIGH
[Wards Affected: All Cranleigh Wards]
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Summary and purpose:

This report provides an update on the decommissioning of Rowland House, Cranleigh and proposes that the Council should set a target date for closure.
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Environmental implications:

There are none arising from the recommendations in this report.

Social / community implications:

There are important implications arising for the residents of Rowland House and Age Concern Cranleigh and District.

E-Government implications:

There are none arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no resource implications arising from this report. It should be noted, however, that the costs of running Rowland House are fairly fixed, whilst the rent income is reducing each year as more and more flats become vacant. Ultimately, the Council will have a valuable site, which it will need to determine how best to use in the future.
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Introduction

1. Rowland House is a large sheltered housing scheme in Cranleigh that was built in two phases in the early 1970s and early 1980s. It comprises 58 self-contained flats and bungalows. Most of the dwellings, whilst having a toilet and wash-hand basin, do not have a bathroom or shower room and so residents have to use bathrooms and showers along the corridor. The building is reaching the end of its useful life and needs considerable investment.

2. Some time ago the Council agreed that the best way forward was to stop letting flats/bedsits when they became vacant with a view to decommissioning the property and redeveloping in due course.

3. Since that time, the number of people living at Rowland House has decreased and at present there are 23 tenants in occupation occupying 20 flats/bungalows.

4. Recently, there has been unfounded speculation about the future of Rowland House and when it will close. It was being asserted that Rowland House was closing at Christmas 2006 and residents and their families were concerned about the future. Not surprisingly, this has caused the elderly residents much anxiety. The Director of Housing has written to tenants to reassure them that the speculation had no foundation.
5. So far, the Council has not made any plans for the future of the site. What is clear is that when the property becomes vacant and ready for redevelopment, the Council as a landlord will not be able to afford to undertake a capital project. The Council will need to consider how it intends use the site to best meet the housing needs of Cranleigh. It will also need to identify which partner it would intend to work with to pursue its aims, as it is clear that the Council, as a landlord, is not in a position to undertake any redevelopment proposals.

6. In the meantime, it is considered important to set a target date for the closure of Rowland House in order to put paid to unfounded speculation and to provide some certainty for all with an interest in Rowland House – the residents, their families, the staff and Age Concern Cranleigh and District, which provides a Day Centre facility on the site.

7. It is proposed that the Council should set a target date for the closure of Rowland House of 31st March 2008.

8. In the intervening period, staff will work with residents to help them move to suitable alternative accommodation. A management plan for staff can then be drawn-up. Discussion can be had with Age Concern Cranleigh and District about the accommodation they occupy.

9. In parallel, the Council can start to consider what will replace Rowland House and when these start to be formulated, consult with the Parish Council and Cranleigh residents.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

1. a target date of 31st March 2008 be set for the closure of Rowland House; 2. the Housing Department activity look for suitable alternative accommodation for the residents at Rowland House; 3. the needs of the residential staff based at Rowland House be taken into account; 4. Age Concern Cranleigh and District be formally advised of the Council’s decision and discussions be held about their future interest in the site; and 5. officers explore the potential for the redevelopment of the Rowland House site to meet local housing need and report back to the Executive in due course.
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Background Papers (DoH)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: David January Telephone: 01483 - 523361

E-mail: djanuary@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/exec/2005-06/302