Fort William care home to get green light

A £2 million major refurbishment of Fort William’s Invernevis House care home will be given the green light next week, the Lochaber News can reveal.

Highland Council’s housing and social work committee will meet on Wednesday and is expected to approve the phased programme which includes an increase in bed numbers and the creation of en-suite rooms.

The care home, situated on Belford Road, has been at the centre of a long-running and highly-charged political debate and campaign. Last summer Highland Council’s administration controversially shelved plans to build a replacement Invernevis House at Caol.

In a joint statement yesterday (Wednesday), Lochaber councillors Michael Foxley and Brian Murphy said that working within the administration they had “ensured” there will be refurbishment of Invernevis this year.

They said the social work committee will discuss the options and recommend:

    * An increase in beds to 28;
    * At least a £1.6m refurbishment on top of the current £302,000 works under way;
    * The programme will be phased within Invernevis as well as the adjoining Belhaven Ward, minimising disruption to residents;
    * Some rooms will be en-suite and many will be suitable for hoists for nursing care.

Cllrs Foxley and Murphy added: “As council administration members we have done what we promised.

“A £2 million major refurbishment will ensure Invernevis is fit for purpose for many years. In this we have the support of our Lochaber colleagues.

“This will become a good example of joint working with the NHS locally.”

Yesterday, Fort William and Ardnamurchan Independent councillor Donald Cameron said: “This was an election issue, and along with the ill thought out Waterfront development, was the reason why some of us were elected.

“Since 2007 we have kept the pressure on the council to reverse the unpopular decision to close Invernevis House.

“All seven Lochaber councillors have been involved in discussions with the director of social work as it has become obvious in recent months that the administration of the council has been backed into a corner having put all their eggs into the basket of the private sector which has failed to deliver.”

Cllr Cameron, who is a member of the social work committee, added: “This is not a victory for any councillor or group of councillors but for the people of Lochaber.”