Bristol Care Homes Get School Site Nod

A former primary school in Mangotsfield will not be sold to developers for private homes after a council U-turn.

Plans to sell the vacant Blackhorse Primary School have been scrapped and land will now be handed over to Hanover Housing Association to develop an “extra care housing scheme” for the elderly.

A major shortage of care homes for the elderly across South Gloucestershire Council persuaded the authority to look again at how best to use the Blackhorse Lane site.

The housing association said it will be able to build 62 homes for the elderly on the site at a cost of about £6 million.

It will be able to offer round-the-clock, personal care on site as well as a raft of other facilities including a restaurant, laundry, meeting room, health care facilities, shop and guest room.

The extra facilities will enable and encourage elderly people to continue to live independently and not have to go into a care home.

The three Emersons Green councillors who campaigned for the housing association scheme, Colin Hunt, James Hunt and Ian Morris, have welcomed the council’s change of heart.

They said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Council has now abandoned its plans to sell off the school site and has instead developed this exciting vision for how we can provide a flagship facility for elderly people in our community.

“According to the Housing Register there are hundreds of older people looking to move into such a scheme living in the Downend area.

“This is an important site locally and we have consistently argued that it should be used to benefit the local community and not be sold off to developers.

“We know there is huge local support for this facility to be brought to Blackhorse and it will be a great benefit to the whole area to see the former school once again used to benefit our community.

“This scheme will achieve a far better quality of life for its residents because by providing the extra care and support they need they will be able to continue to live independently and not have to go into a care home.”

Matthew Riddle, executive councillor for Community Care and Housing, said the authority was committed to achieving 15 extra care schemes across the area over the next nine years.

He said: “This will be one of the first. As a council we are working to transform our service so that the emphasis is placed on individuals, their independence and improving their quality of life.

“Extra care schemes like Blackhorse are central to this vision and this scheme will help reduce the number of people needing to go into a care home.”

The council’s ruling cabinet is expected to agree the transfer of the land to the Hanover Housing Association at its meeting on Monday.