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Closure of Ash Care Home – SCC Pledges ‘Sensitivity’ But News Said To Be ‘Devastating’

Published on: 19 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 19 Jun, 2023

By David Reading

Efforts are under way to ensure that the 14 residents of Abbeywood residential care home for elderly people in Ash Vale will be found new homes before winter, Surrey County Council said this week.

Abbeywood – described as “a well-loved part of the community” – is set to be closed as part of a programme of county council cuts. No date has been decided yet for the closure.

The council is concerned that considerable costs would be involved in modernising and refurbishing Abbeywood.

The building has reached an age where maintenance and running costs are significantly higher than the industry standard, says the council, and considerable investment would be needed to bring Abbeywood up to modern standards.

Cllr Mark Nuti, SCC Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said : “Our Cabinet approved the closure of Abbeywood and other similar homes for older people after taking everything into account and we’re working closely with residents and their families to make sure that all moves to new homes are arranged sensitively and carefully.”

Cllr Mark Nuti

He said the council’s chief focus was on supporting older people to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, in their own homes and communities, with specialist accommodation and the latest technology.

“This includes planning extra care housing at sites such as Pond Meadow in Guildford, which will enable older people to live in their own homes with care and support always on hand and can be an alternative to residential care for some people,” Cllr Nuti said.

“With many more people staying safely at home until much later in life, those who do reach the point of needing residential care are more likely to have complex needs.

“Abbeywood is a dated building from the 1980s and lacks the facilities many people now need and expect of a care home. There are no en suite bathrooms and it has small rooms which struggle to fit important equipment, while lifts and pipework are ageing.”

Cllr Nuti added: “There is no set timescale for closing Abbeywood because we want to make sure we find the right new homes for residents but our hope is that they can be settled in their new care homes before the onset of winter.

“We will make sure the site is used in the best possible way, which will include looking at whether we can provide other adult social care services on the site, such as extra care housing or supported independent living.”

In November 2021, when Abbeywood was shortlisted for possible closure, the Guildford Dragon reported that although the home provided accommodation for up to 51 people, admissions had fallen during the pandemic and at that time the number of residents stood at 30. At present there are 14 people living at Abbeywood.

Cllr Carla Morson

At that time (November 2021) Cllr Carla Morson, county councillor for Ash, told The Dragon: “Abbeywood is an integral and well-loved part of our community. The thought of potentially losing it is devastating.

“This must be a very unsettling time for both the residents and staff at Abbeywood and although I understand they are being supported by Surrey County Council, I am also more than happy to help in any way I can.”

This week she said she had received no recent updates from SCC or had any discussions about Abbeywood since last summer. On the basis that residents are already being moved, she is seeking further information.

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Responses to Closure of Ash Care Home – SCC Pledges ‘Sensitivity’ But News Said To Be ‘Devastating’

  1. Keith Francis Reply

    June 19, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    You can’t trust SCC on its care homes policy. Keswick in Great Bookham and six others were closed with the former residents being disbursed.

    “Planning extra care housing at Pond Meadow in Guildford,” should have been fully put in place before this closure was considered.

    Unfortunately SCC has been neither maintaining nor improving its care homes including creating ensuite facilities for residents.

    The SCC owned Youth Centre in Great Bookham closed about five years ago and apart from being used for a food bank that’s it. Don’t SCC need the potential sale proceeds to balance the cost of a new Community Centre at the Lower Road sports ground?

    A major part of SCC’s problem is that it doesn’t know how to treat all expenditure and income as belonging to it but holds them in separate accounts.

    The special care facility at QEFD will shortly be closed and the care home at Whitely Village too will be closed.

    Our opportunity to properly object to its actions and inactions must unfortunately wait until the ballot boxes at the next Surrey County Council elections [in 2025].

  2. Mark Stamp Reply

    June 19, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    Whilst there are probably issues with the current building, the country council should be investing in building modern homes rather than relying on private sector provision which allows public sector money to flow out of the system including to companies based offshore.

  3. Dave Fielding Reply

    June 26, 2023 at 7:45 am

    Out of interest has SCC shared the costings. It’s all very well saying that a building would cost too much to maintain, but the county council should share the actual costings compared to the costs of providing care for residents in a private care home.

  4. Nick Page Reply

    January 1, 2024 at 9:03 pm

    When I worked there residents were sat in wet under wear all day disgusting
    The manager used to walk out of her office with no shoes on.Health and Safety Issue

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