Agenda item

Extra Care Housing

(To receive a report by Kevin Kendall, Assistant Director County Property, which sets out the business case for the provision of Council funding for an Extra Care Housing development at De Wint Court.  Members are invited to consider and comment on the report prior to consideration by the Executive on 9 July 2019)


Consideration was given to a report which set out the business case for the provision of Council funding for an Extra Care Housing (ECH) Development at De Wint Court, Lincoln.


The report recommended that £2.8m of the £11.886m Adult Care Capital grant was used to enable the De Wint Extra Care Housing scheme to commence development in October 2019.  The proposed De Wint ECH scheme in the City of Lincoln was a partnership between the City of Lincoln Council (CoLC) and the County Council to provide Extra Care Housing for the anticipated demand in the City.  The development would provide a total of 70 units of accommodation for a minimum 30 year period enabling choice for residents and revenue savings by providing an alternative to expensive residential care.  The total cost of the development would be £12m, with the CoLC contributing £6m, Homes England £3.2m and the County Council £2.8m that provides Adult Care with nomination rights on 35 units for 30 years using a process of first right of refusal with no void risk.


Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions to the officers present in relation to the information contained within the report and some of the points raised during discussion included the following:

·         It was highlighted that there were four other probable schemes, but each would have its own business model, and would have different levels of contribution from the Council.  The four schemes under development were for locations in Louth, Horncastle, Spalding and Nettleham.

·         The scheme in Lincoln was not primarily about saving money, but instead about promoting independence and increasing resilience.  However, after 15 years, the council would recover its funding.

·         De Wint Court would be primarily focused on older people and would work across three levels of dependency:- high, medium and low.  The authority would be more interested in nominations for people with high or moderate levels of need who were close to entering residential care.

·         The quality of life for people in extra care housing developments was found to be better than for those living home alone or in residential care.

·         It was queried whether there were any plans to sell any of the units and members were advised that there were two business models for extra care housing - those developers who would sell properties on a complex and then residents would pay a service charge; and those developments where units were available to rent.  It was agreed that those schemes that the Council should invest in would be for those Lincolnshire residents who could not afford to buy their own home.  All the schemes would be on a tenancy basis as it was believed this was the best model for those that the Council was seeking to target.

·         In terms of financial implications, it was queried whether the authority would face increasing costs.  Members were advised that most extra care housing was developed by housing associations.  However, two years ago the Government had set a rent cap which discouraged housing associations from renting.  The Government had recently announced that it would remove the cap for people living in supported housing.

·         De Wint Court would have 70 tenants, but the authority would not necessarily be supporting all the tenants.  However, as the other schemes were developed, it was expected that more working age adults with profound disabilities would become extra care tenants.

·         Standard housing developments did not necessarily focus on the needs of people who would be living in them, but instead focused on meeting building regulations and environmental assessments.

·         Members were advised that these developments would be suitable for people with dementia with a low or moderate need, where it would be a suitable option.  There was an expectation that people with a diagnosis of dementia would be entitled to access this type of accommodation.  It was noted that there were people with early onset dementia who were still in employment.

·         It was queried whether the planned scheme for Spalding was in addition to the scheme being developed by LACE Housing which would have a mixture of accommodation available to buy or rent.  It was confirmed that the County Council scheme would be in addition to this.  LACE was one of organisations the authority was in conversation with.  These developments were not just about providing care, but also about improving people's quality of life.

·         It was queried how provision in the south of the county would be met, and it was reported that this was very dependent on the district councils and the availability of land or funding for schemes in particular areas.  All those areas identified had a demand based on data collected.  There was a funding envelope that would sit alongside this.

·         The Spalding scheme was probable, but was not as developed as the Nettleham scheme.  Population projections support the view that there was a need for further schemes outside of Lincoln.

·         The resources that the authority had available were either land or funding.

·         It was commented that local government was being encouraged to borrow money to fund these long term developments.  Members were advised that from a Lincolnshire County Council point of view, there was no requirement for borrowing as there was £11m available for these schemes.  There was a possibility of this funding between 4 - 7 schemes depending on where else funding would come from and also locations would be dependent on the negotiations which would be held with districts.  There was enthusiasm to progress schemes for working age adults.

·         It was understood that there was already extra care housing in Grantham, and it was confirmed that there were some developments happening without council contributions, but there were some which required a small amount of additional funding which would then give the authority nomination rights.

·         The Council's contribution would depend on the scheme itself, as the contribution maybe land or members may wish to retain some capital.

·         It was commented that the Lincoln development was very welcome, and in terms of design it was queried whether it was based on a national standard or if there had been additional design work.  Members were advised that there were three initial elements which would affect the design – the footprint of the land available, population in question and cost.  However, cost was not a material factor in any of the schemes which were being negotiated.  The design for the Lincoln scheme had been made by housing specialists as they knew what worked.  Some organisations, such as LACE, had their own design portfolio.

·         It was highlighted that South Kesteven District Council did not have a land bank so would schemes be dependent on developers bringing forward proposals for these developments.  It was noted that some schemes were just about supported living, officers were talking with housing associations, as they knew Lincolnshire and knew what worked.  Each scheme would be dependent on who could contribute what and the County Council was in a very good position as it had both land and funding available as a contribution.  Work was underway to find suitable parcels of land and plan for the future.

·         It was queried whether there had been any discussion about a percentage of houses on housing developments being designated for extra care.  However, members were advised that extra care housing was purely bespoke.  There were plans to build 200,000 houses in greater Lincolnshire over the coming years and it was expected that some of them would be designed to accessible standards.  Work was underway to try and influence the housing developers to build houses which would meet people's future needs.

·         In terms of identifying land for these developments, it was suggested that they needed to be located within walking distance of the town, as residents of these developments would still want to be part of the community and would need to be able to access the amenities of the town.  It was highlighted that one of the benefits of extra care developments was the connectivity with the community, with access to local activities.  It was suggested that there may also be a need instead to build satellite centres, with cafes and shops, as it was not always possible to walk to the centre of the town.

·         It was commented that with the expected reduction of rural bus services, consideration of suitable locations would be vital.

·         It was highlighted that there were a lot of people with profound learning and physical disabilities cared for by their parents who were now becoming elderly, and it was confirmed that the Nettleham development would be suitable for people in this situation.

·         Health colleagues had been encouraged to participate in all developments and were very aware of the plans for all schemes.

·         These schemes were more relevant to GP's, primary care and district nurses rather than hospitals.

·         It was acknowledged that it had taken time to get to this point, but the importance of giving thorough consideration to the plans was recognised.





1.    That the Adults and Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee support the recommendations to the Executive as set out in the report.


2.    That the following additional comments be passed to the Executive:


On 3 July 2019, the Adults and Community Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee agreed to support the two recommendations on page 61 of the report, which would deliver an extra care housing scheme at De Wint Court in Lincoln, as the first of several schemes currently being developed.  Whilst it had taken time to bring forward proposals, the Committee recognised that it was essential that the plans had been given thorough consideration.


The Committee discussed the issue of accessibility across the county and was advised that schemes were also being developed by the County Council in partnership with the respective district council in Louth, Horncastle, Spalding and Nettleham.  A key factor was the availability of land, and certain district councils in Lincolnshire did not have a bank of available land.     


In welcoming and supporting the scheme in Lincoln, the Committee emphasised extra care housing as supportive of independent living and part of this was enabling residents to remain active and participate in their local communities.

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