Plans have been unveiled to build more than 100 homes at an old swimming pool and a vacant care home as part of an overhaul of its adult social care services.

The proposals include flats for adults with personal care needs and homes for people on the housing register.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) is looking to consolidate its adult social services at two currently vacant sites, on Battle Street and Hexham Road.

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The council says it wants to deliver “modernised, sustainable services that meet peoples’ personalised expectations and outcomes whilst delivering value for money” and provide “much-needed homes for people on the housing register”.

It plans to build 74 flats at the former Central Pool on Battle Street split between sheltered housing and general needs, as well as a 35-place older person day service.

Additionally, six family-sized houses would be built on the street under the proposals, which would cost £45 million.

On Hexham Road - near the University of Reading - 36 sheltered housing flats are planned, along with a 31-place profound and multiple learning disability day service and a nine-bed respite facility.

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Hexham Road was previously home to care home The Willows, which shut in 2019.

The plans will be voted on next Monday, January 18, by the council’s Policy committee, with planning applications to follow at a later date.

Two former adult social care sites, on Amethyst Lane and Dwyer Road, are also set to become social housing, but plans have not yet been revealed for those properties.

What is the current situation? – the four services

Services are currently provided across four sites on Castle Crescent, Strathy Close, Whitley Wood and Rivermead.

The council says the current accommodation across the sites is not sufficient in terms of building structure, layout, size and adaptability.

1. Mental health supported living

Focus House, at 14 and 16 Castle Crescent, has 14 beds and is the main base for the mental health supported living service delivered by the council.

Council officers said the building is “no longer considered optimum for the needs of the residents due to its layout including narrow corridors, stairs and level changes”.

They said shared bathrooms and the lack of independent facilities inhibits the service’s ability to offer service users the opportunities to re-establish the skills required to move on into general needs accommodation.

Additionally, the building needs improvements but this would need significant investment and would reduce the capacity, according to officers, while remaining suboptimal.

The site would be sold, if the plans go ahead.

2. Profound and multiple learning disability day services

188 Strathy Close is a learning disability day service and has capacity to support up to 30 people.

The service provides support to people with complex learning disability and physical disability needs who require a high ratio of care, with many needing 1:1 care.

Officers said the current building “needs some remodelling and refurbishment work to meet the needs of the current service users and develop it to support people who have challenging behaviours”.

However, they said this would only be a short term fix and a new facility would be required in the medium-to-long-term as the current site has limited room for expansion.

3. Disability respite service

The current service is provided at 188 Whitley Wood Lane, offering respite to people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, many needing 1:1 support, as well as supporting for those requiring emergency placements.

The building is “considered suboptimum for its current purpose”, with a “poor layout, narrow corridors and inadequate circulation spaces”.

Officers said the building has reached the end of its design life and cannot be reconfigured to create a suitable environment.

4. Older persons day service

The Maples, an older persons day service at Rivermead Leisure Centre, supports up to 56 people who require physical or cognitive support.

It has a focus on providing support to people who have dementia and require a safe environment to prevent wandering and provides respite to carers.

The existing service needs to be re-located due to the redevelopment of the Rivermead Leisure Centre, with a new centre including a swimming pool currently set to open in January 2023.

What would be the benefits of the new proposals?

The council says the Battle Street site would allow for a dynamic mixed community, has a central location with good access to the town centre and transport links and allows for a hub approach, with potential for services such as hairdressing and hot meals.

General need family houses and flats would provide “much-needed homes for people on the housing register and allow for the development of a mixed and sustainable community on the site”.

Officers said the Hexham Road site would enable efficient use of staff and reduce travel times between facilities for both service users and staff.

The site also has good access, according to the council, with many of the people who use the service wheelchair users, and has good access to local transport and shops.