Closure of Leighton Buzzard day centre agreed with services switching to new care home

Leighton Buzzard day centre is to close in around seven months with its services moved to a new site in the town.
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The 63-bedroom Marigold House is being built on the former police station and magistrates court site in Hockliffe Road.

A review of the day centre found the building is considerably underused and outdated, according to a report to Central Bedfordshire Council’s executive on October 11.

Alternative community space was identified at the new care home, which could be used to replace the Duncombe Drive premises, said the report.

The current Leighton Buzzard Day Centre for Older People, Duncombe Drive. Image: Google Maps.The current Leighton Buzzard Day Centre for Older People, Duncombe Drive. Image: Google Maps.
The current Leighton Buzzard Day Centre for Older People, Duncombe Drive. Image: Google Maps.

“A consultation on the future of the day centre, which began in February 2020, was suspended part-way through because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 12-week consultation began again in April this year.”

Executive member for adult social care and Conservative Dunstable Central councillor Carole Hegley presented the report, saying: “This proposal is to provide a more comfortable, dementia-friendly environment, with improved facilities and size to meet rising demand.

“There are 39 customers registered to the town’s day centre. There’s enough capacity for everyone to attend on their usual days.

“Facilities there include activity space, a small kitchen and a secure office area. They would also have access to on site meals and a changing places toilet, gardens and a hairdressing salon. The new site is expected to open in Spring 2023.”

Conservative Health and Reach councillor Mark Versallion referred to parking being a potential issue, but described himself as “comfortable with the proposal”.

Liberal Democrat Linslade councillor Peter Snelling also welcomed the plans, but warned: “The number of users in time will get larger, so I hope there’s sufficient space to cope with that.”

CBC is replacing a number of outdated homes to develop a new day offer for vulnerable adults and their relatives/carers and older people.

This includes replacing old, single-use spaces used to deliver day care by the in-house care and support service with community-based facilities, added the report.

“Renovating the current premises isn’t thought to be a suitable way forward because of the extensive works required and the significant disruption it would cause day service customers. It’s outdated and oversized for the number of customers accessing the service.

“The day centre in Leighton Buzzard was the second be reviewed, having been in operation for more than 40 years. Its catchment area covers Leighton Buzzard, Leighton Linslade and surrounding villages.

“There were 50 responses to the consultation, with 24 replies or 56 per cent expressing a preference about the service relocating to Marigold House, which has parking provision for staff and visitors.

“Day service customers would have access to the Marigold House gardens. The gardens are of a dementia-friendly design and create a safe and secure outside environment.

“From 2017 and up to the Covid-19 outbreak, officers were designing and delivering changes to day services for older people and for adults with disabilities. The premises in Leighton Buzzard has been open for two days a week since the pandemic.”

The executive agreed to close the current day centre building and use the available space at Marigold House.