Decision means 17 care homes will be sold for just one pound each
PUBLISHED: 12:34 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:07 05 March 2019
Seventeen care homes are to be sold by Norfolk County Council for just £1 each - and could then be sold again for much more.
The council owns the homes, but currently lets them to its own arms-length company Norse Care, which provides social care to people living in them.
But council officers said it made sense to simply transfer the freehold for the homes to Norse Care - and then if they decide to sell them they would get the full receipt to spend on replacement care homes.
Members of the council’s business and property committee agreed at a meeting yesterday to sell the freehold for each of the homes to Norse Care for £1 each.
Officers said the £1 fee was the book value of the homes, given the terms of the lease give Norse Care the option for a transfer of the freehold.
Norse Care would continue to run the homes following transfer.
Labour county councillor Colleen Walker questioned whether there would be merit in putting a covenant on the land, stipulating it must be used for care facilities.
But Simon Hughes, head of property, said that would limit Norse Care’s ability to sell the site if they deemed it surplus to requirements - and to use the money to provide new care homes.
He said: “A number of the homes are quite old. Norse Care is looking to grow and expand provision and if those homes are sold, then the money would be reinvested back into Norse Care to help their borrowing, expansion and growth.”
The homes which will be sold are: St Edmunds in Attleborough; Springdale in Brundall; Beauchamp House in Chedgrave; St Nicholas House in Dereham; Cranmer House in Fakenham; Rebecca Court in Heacham; Harker House in Long Stratton; Munhaven in Mundesley; Rose Meadow in North Walsham; Bishop Herbert in Norwich; Ellacombe in Norwich; Woodlands in South Wootton; Sydney House in Stalham; Westfields in Swaffham; Burman House in Terrington St John and Linden Court in Watton.
The committee also agreed that Norse Care should be allowed to acquire the Norfolk County Council-owned former Herondale care home in Acle.
The complex used to be run as a day and respite centre by Age UK Norfolk, but plans have been lodged to replace it with a block of 58 flats for people aged 55 and over.