Fife Council had hoped to provide a replacement for the ageing Northeden House within a £6.6m budget envelope on the site of the former Dalgairn Centre, but councillors will be told next week that the final price tag looks set to be approaching £8.8m.
Remedial work to remove arsenic contamination on the new site has contributed to the increase, while enhanced drainage works are also required.
As such, members of Fife’s policy and co-ordination committee will be asked next week to fund an estimated £1.279m shortfall for the health and social care element via general fund balances - normally kept aside for unforeseen pressures such as this.
In addition, costs for the housing element are £900,000 more than originally anticipated and funding solutions for this are being explored.
The project has already 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 - 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.
“The project has undertaken continuous and rigorous value engineering exercises.
“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.
“The existing care home no longer meets National Care Standards and Care Inspectorate requirements in that it does not provide en-suite facilities, appropriate communal areas and accessible outdoor space.
“The current condition of this home means that there is an urgency to progress the programme as soon as reasonably practicable.
“It is therefore proposed that funding be provided from the commitment in general fund balances set aside for costs and pressures following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This would allow the programme to progress within the expected timescales.”
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.
One option would have been to bring forward the extra cash needed from the overall programme budget, but that would have a knock-on effect on the Anstruther project.
Ms Connor noted: “Bringing the existing care home at Anstruther up to Care Inspectorate standards is likely to cost around the same as building a new care home, therefore, bringing forward budget would not be an appropriate solution.”