December 19 2013 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Monday, October 8, 2012
Elderly residents of a care home in Aylsham will be moved out next month and the site put up for sale.
The 15 residents of Aegel House, owned by Norfolk County Council’s commercial arm Norse, will have to leave their Burgh Road home on November 5 after the council decided it would be too costly, at more than £2m, to bring the 1962 building up to modern-day standards.
The closure has also prompted the probable disbandment of the Friends of St Michael’s Community Units and Aegel House group, formed more than half a century ago to provide treats and comforts for St Michael’s Hospital patients and Aegel House residents.
All but one of the Aegel House residents will be moving into the new Green Lane View housing-with-care complex, part of the redevelopment of Aylsham’s old St Michael’s Hospital site. The remaining resident will transfer to a local nursing home.
Green Lane View comprised 30 self-contained flats and offered round-the-clock personal care, according to a spokesman for Norse.
The Green Lane View site also housed St Michael’s Court nursing home, a medical centre and the Aylsham Care Trust (Act) community centre where tenants would be able to go for meals and events.
“We consulted residents about their views on the plans from July 2011 when we announced the plan. Initially two of the residents were in favour and 13 had concerns about the move,” said the spokesman.
“We have had residents’ meetings and one-to-ones with families and residents to share information and views and talk over concerns. Residents have been to view other housing-with-care schemes and encouraged and supported to choose their own furnishings in the new flats.”
All but one of the 25 staff at Aegel House would transfer to the £1.1m Green Lane View development, which would be very reassuring for residents and provide continuity. The other staff member had decided to retire.
The closure of Aegel House comes months after Aylsham lost its long-established St Michael’s Hospital, despite a hard-fought protest campaign by the local community.
The hospital’s closure coincided with the opening of a new 24-bed unit in North Walsham. The NHS has also commissioned up to nine Aylsham beds in St Michael’s Court.
The Norse spokesman said that Aegel House would be “decommissioned” and the site put on the market.
Sale cash would be put towards Norse’s plan to invest in more housing-with-care schemes and specialist care homes for people with severe dementia.
Andrew Wilton, chairman of the friends’ group, said he was saddened and disappointed at the closure.
“It was a shock when we first heard. First the hospital and then Aegel House,” he said. “We’ve ended up with a little hub rather than a hospital and the Aegel House residents are not going to have the views and gardens they enjoyed anymore. I still think they could have spent the money modernising the building.”
However, Mr Wilton said he realised that the residents’ new rooms would be bigger and better equipped.
The friends were due to meet later this month and he thought they would vote to disband. Careful thought would need to be given to distributing remaining funds which he thought might be in the region of £28,000.
Over the years the friends had bought thousands of pounds worth of items, including hospital and home beds, lounge chairs, garden furniture and they had always paid for a Christmas goody bag for each hospital patient.