'Outstanding' Biggleswade residential home could soon shut due to modernisation programme

A residential home in Biggleswade rated "outstanding" could shut as part of a programme to modernise and improve facilities for older people locally.

By Euan Duncan
Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 5:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 5:42 pm

The closure of Abbotsbury Residential Home at Mead End is Central Bedfordshire Council’s preferred option.

The local authority has identified seven such sites, which are being replaced with better facilities.

Abbotsbury was built by Bedfordshire County Council in the 1970s on the site of a large former Victorian workhouse.

Health and social care (stock image)

A new care home nearby, operated by Quantum Care, would replace the current 32-place provision, according to a report to CBC’s executive.

Abbotsbury was given an "outstanding" rating after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Conservative Dunstable Central councillor Carole Hegley told the executive: “We see an opportunity in Biggleswade with a care provider we’ve used before in Dunstable, Quantum Care.

“We consider each home on its own merit and reflect its history and operations,” she said.

“The facilities and the fabric of the building don’t really reflect on the care.

“It’s paramount in our minds to make sure we’re doing the right thing for residents and improving their services.

“I have to particularly commend this home because it’s the only ‘outstanding’ one in Central Bedfordshire.

“The level of care given by staff has been exemplary, so it’s no reflection on them at all that we’re considering the future.

“It’s got a great reputation and is very well respected locally,” added councillor Hegley, who’s the executive member for adults, social care and housing operations.

“We will look to have a larger facility in this area with the proposals by Quantum Care.”

Conservative Biggleswade North councillor Steve Watkins described it as “a very important facility for the community”, saying residents will be keen to be kept updated.

“It’s an outstanding care home and we’re keen that ‘outstanding’ rating is maintained wherever the residents end up,” he said.

CBC’s executive has authorised the start of a consultation process on the future of Abbotsbury and asked for a report back on the outcome and to make recommendations about the home’s future.

“There are currently 11 older persons’ care homes in Ivel Valley providing 541 places in total,” added the report.

“A further home is being built which will provide an extra 76 places.

“Two of these homes, Allison House in Sandy and Abbotsbury are owned and operated by the council.

Abbotsbury has 21 permanent residents and one respite resident, with the figures slightly down on capacity following an outbreak of Covid-19, explained the report.

“The places offered locally by Quantum Care at Mantles Court would allow all the residents at Abbotsbury to have a choice of a place there, subject to the appropriate health and care assessments being carried out.”

Conservative council leader James Jamieson, who chairs the executive, said: “It’s our ambition to continually improve facilities for residents and this is another example.

“We like them to have modernised buildings, with things such as en-suite facilities, and that’s what’s driving us in this instance.”

The consultation is due to start on Friday (Oct 23rd) and end on January 29th 2021