Start date for construction of new Leighton Buzzard care home revealed

Building work will take around 14 months to complete

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 1:01 pm

Work is due to start on a new care home in Leighton Buzzard within the next few weeks and take around 14 months to complete, a meeting heard.

It follows approval of an extra £3.3m funding towards the 63-bedroom premises in the town centre.

The building work on the former police station and magistrates court site in Hockliffe Road was valued initially around £10.5m.

The new care home plans (Photo:Concertus)

Central Bedfordshire Council is replacing Westlands Residential Home in Duncombe Drive as part of a review of its care home offering.

An update was presented to the local authority’s Leighton-Linslade partnership committee last week.

“We expect Farrans Construction to start on site in less than a month in the first week of October,” explained head of service MANOP (meeting the accommodation needs of older people) Tobin Stephenson.

“From that point, the company expects to take in the region of 60 weeks to build that care home.

“I’m really pleased that we can deliver this facility for Leighton Buzzard and Linslade. The contractor will do everything to minimise disruption.

“The timings for the work will be Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm or 6pm and Saturday 8am to 1pm or 3pm, with no work on Sunday unless the schedule dictates it.”

Independent Linslade councillor Victoria Harvey described it as “a cutting edge care home on environmental issues” and wondered whether it would be an inspiration to others showing the leadership of CBC.

Mr Stephenson replied: “This is the first care home we’ll have built to very high passive house standards, and only the second one of its kind in the country. So it’s a sustainable long lasting building. We don’t want to be building another in 20 to 25 years.

“We expect it to remain for a long time with good outdoor spaces for residents to enjoy.”

Conservative Leighton Buzzard South councillor Amanda Dodwell referred to it as “a fantastic project and something the town really needs”, saying: “It’s certainly going to be much better than Westlands.

“I hope you’ll keep as much of the construction vehicles as possible within site, and not be introducing temporary traffic lights.

“At the moment round the town it’s an absolute nightmare. Hockliffe Road residents won’t be happy about mud on the road.”

Mr Stephenson said: “There’s not much to do on the road kerbside, a little but not a lot, so minimal disruption in terms of traffic. I’ll make sure we make it clear to the main contractor that the roads are kept clean as part of the work being done.”

Town councillor Clive Palmer said he hoped the project would keep to its timetable and welcomed the assurances about “responsible contractors”. He asked what the situation is relating to the day care provision, if feasible, at the premises.

Mr Stephenson added: “We’ve started a consultation on day centre on Duncombe Drive, but then got hit by the pandemic and day centres were suspended.

“The plan will be to reopen that consultation at some point in the New Year to give people the chance to comment on the preferred option put forward already to use some community space created in this building.

“I expect the council’s new care operating company formed to run this building, Carers Central, to receive any enquiries for that space being used for other community uses.”

Conservative Leighton Buzzard North councillor Ewan Wallace said: “I’m delighted to see this investment going into our town for this much needed facility.

“Construction is risky unfortunately. So I hope it’s well managed. I’m sure it is. When things turn up, people will react accordingly.”