Revamps costing £1.5m agreed for four care homes in Borders

Four council-run care homes in the Borders are to be given revamps together costing £1.5m. 

Friday, 1st November 2019, 11:40 am
Grove House in Edenside Road in Kelso.

That investment package – agreed at a full meeting of Scottish Borders Council yesterday, October 31 – follows inspections of all five of the authority’s care homes in response to concerns beingraised about the state of one of them, Deanfield Care Home in Hawick.

The Hawick home, at Roadhead, was found to be in urgent need of upgrading, so a £2.8m emergency improvement programme was agreed in September. 

Though not in as poor condition as Deanfield or as much in need of urgent attention, the council’s other care homes were also found to be in need of major investment over the next five years. 

Martin Joyce, the authority’s director of assets and infrastructure, yesterday told councillors that though Saltgreens Care Home in Eyemouth, Waverley Residential Home in Galashiels and St Ronan’s House in Innerleithen were all rated as being in satisfactory condition, Grove House Care Home in Kelso was deemed to be in poor condition and showing major defects. 

Kelso councillor Tom Weatherston said: “Over a great number of years, we’ve allowed more cosmetic things to go to waste to keep our care homes in an acceptable and safe manner, but, let me be clear, they have never not been at an acceptable standard.

“It’s important to remember that this is a five-year plan. It’s not going to happen over six months.

“However, we need to improve the fabric of the buildings and improve the standard of the homes.

“I know it’s not always popular to spend money on the fabric of our property estate, but we have now reached a point where we can’t ignore it any longer.”

Council leader Shona Haslam added: “These homes are in good condition, and this is work that will make them even better, and it’s very important that we strive for absolute excellence.

“These are places that we should be happy to live in and for our relatives to live in.”

Fellow Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell said: “One of the disadvantages of getting older is that I spend more and more time going in and out of care homes visiting friends and relatives.

“I’m of the view that care homes in the Borders are in good condition and also, in the scheme of things, that £1.5m over the next five years is not an unreasonable amount of money in terms of the upkeep and maintenance of buildings that get older and change over time.”

Although Grove House is assessed as being in poorer condition, Saltgreens is in line for the biggest share of the investment, with works costing £617,500 having been authorised by councillors. 

Officers report that the exterior of the property is in need of redecoration, as well as groundworks, drainage maintenance and replacement of windows and doors being required. 

Other major works scheduled for the Chapel Street property include replacement of its kitchen, upgrading of its lighting and heating system and renewal of all its sanitary fittings and fixtures.

Kelso’s Grove House, in Edenside Road, is in line for a revamp costing £397,000.

Landscaping, drainage and structural works are to be carried out, as well as upgrades to windows and doors.

St Ronan’s House, in Innerleithen Maxwell Street, is to have £363,000 spent on it.

Officers report that it is also in need of a full heating system upgrade, as well as having its kitchens replaced and en-suite shower rooms refurbished. 

Waverley Residential Home, in Elm Row in Galashiels, is to have £137,000 spent on renewing its heating and lighting systems, plus redecoration throughout.