Proposals for specialist care accommodation development in Gelli

Written by on 12th July 2022

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet will consider plans to provide new specialist care accommodation for people with learning disabilities at the former Bronllwyn Care Home site in Gelli, as part of the wider modernisation of Council residential care provision.

At the Cabinet meeting on Monday, July 18, Members will consider a redevelopment proposal for the site, a funding package for the investment, and the inclusion of the scheme within the Council’s wider capital programme to modernise its residential care facilities, previously agreed in late 2020.

Cabinet could also agree necessary related changes due to the development, including the continuation of alternative care and support arrangements for the previous users of the day centre, which is currently closed – until the new older people day centre facility opens at the Porth Extra Care scheme in early 2024. This will allow the permanent closure of Bronllwyn Day Centre to allow the redevelopment of the site.

In December 2020, Cabinet agreed to decommission Bronllwyn Residential Care Home and consider a new development in its place. This will provide specialist accommodation to support people with learning disabilities in adulthood and older age, to meet changes in need and demand. There were no residents living at the care home when it was decommissioned.

A report to the upcoming Cabinet meeting says that Quattro Design Architects were commissioned to develop the design of the proposed development – details of which will be considered by Members. It includes demolition of the existing buildings on site, with the new facility including 14 disability-friendly en-suite rooms, providing a safe and secure environment for residents.

It would include three communal day rooms, two sensory rooms, two assisted bathrooms, a commercial kitchen, a private outdoor garden area, and on-site parking. There would also be sufficient space for 24/7 support staff presence. Artist impressions will be included as part of the information presented to Cabinet, although the development’s design will be subject to further review.

The report adds that the design is modern and innovative to maximise the potential of the site, optimising the efficient delivery of care services required to support people with a learning disability. This is primarily focused on older people with complex behaviours, to permanently meet their assessed needs.

The new facility would represent an estimated investment of £4.979m, and £100,000 of this total, for surveys and initial architect design work, has already been funded by Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund in 2021/22. The report adds that the Council could bid for the remaining funding (£4.879m) in July 2022, to Welsh Government’s Integration and Rebalancing Care Fund.

If Cabinet Members agree with the recommendations of the report, it is envisaged that a Pre Application Consultation will take place in August 2022, for the community to find out more and have their say on the designs. A full planning application could be submitted in October, and subject to planning permission being granted the construction work could start in March 2023.

Councillor Gareth Caple, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:

“Cabinet will shortly consider proposals for the Council to redevelop the Bronllwyn Residential Care Home site into brand new specialist care accommodation for people with learning disabilities. This follows a previous agreement by Cabinet in 2020 to decommission the care home, which had no residents at the time, and to bring forward a costed redevelopment proposal – which is what Members will consider next week.

“The proposed redevelopment for the site in Gelli would help meet existing and future demand, as more people are living longer, with increased complex care and support needs. An increasing demand has been identified for such a provision, with an absence of this kind of specialist accommodation locally – that can be tailored to the needs of older people with learning disabilities.

“The plans to be considered by Cabinet show the state-of-the-art proposals being put forward, with a modern development that includes 14 en-suite rooms and the latest facilities to support the 24/7 on-site support available. This is much the same ethos as with our Extra Care developments, which have delivered the very best residential care facilities in Aberaman and Pontypridd. The new specialist care accommodation in Gelli would represent a £4.979m investment and, if Cabinet agrees with proposals, the Council would progress an identified funding opportunity via Welsh Government.

“It is also important to note that, in order to maximise the opportunities of the site and provide a high-quality care accommodation, the day centre at Bronllwyn would need to be permanently closed. If this is agreed, the Council would continue to offer its current level of care and support to those residents who attended the day centre before the pandemic, until that support can be offered at the new Porth Extra Care facility from 2024 onwards.”

Bronwllyn Day Centre, which is currently closed on a temporary basis, would be closed permanently if Cabinet agrees to progress the new specialist care accommodation for the site. There were 26 people attending the day service from across the Rhondda area before the pandemic in March 2020. The day centre has remained closed since the start of the pandemic, except for its opening on three days a week between August 2021 and December 2021.

The Council has ensured, based on assessed need and risk, that where appropriate some people have transferred to Tonyrefail Day Centre for day services, while others have been offered alternative care in their own home.

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