THE ownership of Neuadd Maldwyn in Welshpool is set to be transferred to Clwyd Alyn housing association.
Powys County Council’s (PCC) Independent/Conservative Cabinet approved the transfer of ownership at its meeting on Tuesday, January 26.
It follows a mammoth and at times fractious planning committee meeting which took over three hours to discuss the application on Friday, January 22,
The £11.6 million plans by Clwyd Alyn to change the former Montgomeryshire Council headquarters into a 66 apartment Extra Care facility for older people was approved.
But the planning approval as well as the transfer of the deed is reliant on the Welsh Government, which is considering calling the proposal in for them to decide the scheme.
Adult Social Care portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, (Independent – Banwy), said: “This is an important next step in this crucial development.”
Questions have been raised over the actual need for an Extra Care facility in Welshpool, and Cllr Alexander brought up data to show the need for the scheme.
She said for the Welshpool area that by 2036 there is a predicted 157 per cent increase in the number of people over 85 years old going from 950 to 2,445.
That would see a corresponding increase of 83 per cent of people suffering some form of dementia rising from 497 to 910 by 2036.
With no extra care available, only 115 sheltered accommodation units available and only eight residential care beds for dementia per 1,000 population, Cllr Alexander believes that this shows the need for the project.
Cllr Alexander said:
“On Friday (January 22) it received planning assent there is a discussion going on in Welsh Government as to whether or not there will be a call in.
“If we work together with Clwyd Alyn and take advantage of this building’s potential we can provide homes and care for our grandparents, our parents and indeed us in the future.
“I find it very cheering when I walk about in the area, older people stop me and ask when will the units be ready?
“There is a real understanding of the need locally and that this is the way forward.”
At the planning meeting, Welshpool Town Council spoke against the proposal as did both Welshpool County Councillors who are on the planning committee, Francesca Jump (Gungrog- Liberal Democrat) and Phil Pritchard (Castle – Independent).
They both argued in favour of deferring the plans but a vote on this wasn’t allowed.
The third Welshpool county councillor, Graham Breeze (Llanerchyddol – Independent) is the cabinet member for Corporate Governance, Engagement and Regulatory Services.
Cllr Breeze said: “This is an absolutely amazing opportunity for Welshpool and the surrounding district.
“It was a difficult decision taken in planning and there was some opposition to this, which surprised me greatly.
“There is an absolute need for this type of accommodation, working in conjunction with Clwyd Alyn is certainly the right way forward.
“They have a great track record in this, I’m very happy to support this.”
The transfer was unanimously approved.
The scheme which has received the backing of PCC’s Adult Social Services will be covered by grants of over £6.7 million from the Welsh Government.
This would be £4,158, 040 from a Social Housing Grant; £2,562,750 from the Integrated Care Fund and the remaining £4,866, 779 will come from Clwyd Alyn themselves.
An independent valuation report by the District Valuation Service (DVS) in March 2020 has deemed the market value of the whole site including the Chalfont building to be £660,000.
This is seen as PCC’s contribution to the project.