Extra £2m to build Fife Council care home 'won't change scope of plans'

A rise in the projected price tag for a new Fife care home won’t change the scope of the project, councillors have been assured.

By Craig Smith, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 12:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 12:50 pm
The rising price tag shouldn't change the project, councillors heard.
The rising price tag shouldn't change the project, councillors heard.

Members of Fife Council’s policy and co-ordination committee have rubber-stamped plans to help fund a £2 million shortfall in the cost of the new Cupar care home after it emerged costs would be higher than previously thought.

The budget earmarked for the replacement of the town’s ageing Northeden House had been £6.6 million, but the need for enhanced drainage works and the removal of arsenic contamination on the site of the former Dalgairn Centre – where the replacement will be built – will see the final figure nearer £8.8 million.

Around £1.3 million extra required for the health and social care element of the plans will be now funded via balances, thanks to the decision taken by councillors on Thursday, while funding solutions for a £900,000 shortfall in the housing element are still being explored.

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Cupar councillor Karen Marjoram was one of those seeking assurances that what will be delivered on site would not change even though costs had changed, but officials have stressed the blueprints will indeed remain the same.

The care home replacement had previously been scaled back for financial reasons, with plans for a 36-bed care home scrapped in favour of a joint 24-bed care home and a supported housing building.

Nicky Connor, director of Fife’s health and social care partnership, said various alternative options had been looked at – including delaying the new home – prior to asking for the extra cash, but none were suitable.

“The project team has taken all necessary steps to try and contain costs within the available budget, including entering into partnership with Housing Services to deliver an integrated building and thereby share costs,” she explained.

“Health and Social Care have a limited capital budget and have already used around £2m from elsewhere in their capital plan to contribute towards shortfalls within their programme; so there is no scope to fund this significant shortfall without having a detrimental impact on other required works within Health and Social Care.”

Cupar is the second of three Fife Council care homes being replaced, with work already ongoing on a new complex in Methil and plans progressing for a replacement in Anstruther.