Kelso to house the region’s first specialist dementia unit

Artist impression of the new Murray House dementia unit in Kelso.
Artist impression of the new Murray House dementia unit in Kelso.
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Developers have been given the go-ahead to build the Borders’ first specialist dementia care unit.

The specialist unit in Kelso, being planned by Angraflat Development will cost £3m and is expected to create about 30 jobs.

Queen's House care home in Kelso.

Queen's House care home in Kelso.

The 18-bed facility, to be called Murray House, will be built next to the existing Queen’s House nursing home in Angraflat Road.

Building work is due to start in August and be completed by autumn 2018.

The new unit will be separate to the current home in order to meet the different needs of dementia residents.

Queen’s House’s 60 staff, existing residents and families, as well as neighbours, have all been consulted, and all are in favour of the proposed development.

Kelso Community Council has also welcomed the planned unit, describing it as a “much-needed facility”.

A design statement by Aitken Turnbull Architects says about 30% of the Borders’ population is forecast to be over the age of 60 within 20 years, leading to rising demand for care services.

A spokesman for the Galashiels-based architect’s firm also states: “The new care home will provide employment for additional staff, and the supporting infrastructure will be separate to Queen’s House due to the nature of the dementia residents having different needs.”

The central hub and service building will share a public domain with Queen’s House to enable the more practical functions of the dual operation to be kept separate from the residents.

It will provide activity areas, a salon and quiet room to serve as a destination for residents of both Queen’s House and the new Murray House.

In a report to councillors, Scottish Borders Council lead planning officer Barry Fotheringham says: “The dementia unit has been designed in such as way so as to complement the existing Queen’s House building.

“It is considered this proposal of a dementia care facility would provide significant community benefits to the local area and therefore the principle could be supported.”

The plans for the specialist unit, currently the first of its kind in the region, were submitted late last year.