Mill House residential village, Queen's Drive, Nantwich

Cheshire East Council is backing moves to support the development of more affordable extra care housing as the borough’s ageing population grows, writes Belinda Ryan.

Extra care housing (ECH) is specifically designed to support older people to remain independent for as long as possible but also to support them as their care needs increase.

It provides services such as 24-hour care staff based on site, large-sized accessible flats as well as good communal space and facilities to support a range of activities which could include, a café, hairdressers and small shop.

Currently, Cheshire East Council commissions care for four ECH schemes, including Mill House in Nantwich (pictured), Oakmere in Handforth, Willowmere in Middlewich, and Heath View in Congleton.

The council’s adults and health committee has now approved in principle the use of capital funding and revenue measures to support the development of extra care housing.

A report to the committee stated the council has identified two potential sites for the development of ECH in Crewe and Handforth Garden Village.

Council officer Sue Ryde said: “We know we’ve got an ageing population and this is a good housing option choice for people to live later life with some support which can be increased as and when they need it…

“This paper is focusing on an affordable housing product aimed at those clients we tend to support in adult services and hope to divert away from their only option at the moment which is residential care.”

Ms Ryde said to stimulate new development the council must work with the providers.

“The council does not have much of its own land left any more, certainly of the size that is needed for these type of developments and therefore we are reliant on the market working with us,” she said.

Cheshire East has an older than average demographic – 22.5% of the local population is over 65 compared to 18% of the population for England.

Cllr Arthur Moran (Nantwich, Ind) said the Mill House development in Nantwich was an excellent facility and ‘I’m completely in favour of this strategy’.

Cllr Janet Clowes (Wybunbury, Con) said: “What, I think, makes this unique is these are affordable housing products but they meet social care needs.”

She said it was essential departments within the council work together on this.

“The only thing I would take issue with, it’s not just for later life, there is a lot of adults out there with learning difficulties…” said Cllr Clowes.

“I can see all sorts of opportunities for bringing people back in borough who we are having to pay for out of borough at vast expense. Let’s just get on with this.”

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