New respite centre for Taverham

Plans to create a new respite centre in the Norwich area for adults with learning disabilities have been welcomed.

The five-bed centre will cost around �420,000 to create by refurbishing the former NHS campus property in Kingswood Avenue, Taverham.

The respite centre will be used by families from across Norfolk and will replace an existing centre at Mill Close, Aylsham.

Tim O'Rourke, a project manager for Norfolk County Council's community service, told members of the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting that families had been closely consulted over the proposals.

He said: 'The service will be 24-hour and include 24-hour nursing care, as it does at the moment.

'It will be in a much, much better environment then Mill Close, which falls well short of being suitable.'

He added: 'Mill Close staff are committed to providing a good service, but the staff have struggled to do that in a woeful and inadequate building.'

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Mr O'Rourke also reassured members that the current centre in Aylsham would not close until the refurbishment of the Taverham premises was complete, which is estimated to be by February, 2013.

Proposals were first mooted years ago to discontinue the centre at Mill Close, in Aylsham, which provides short-term respite care for adults with learning disabilities and complex health needs.

It was initially thought this service would be no longer needed but, after campaigining by families, NHS Norfolk, NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney and Norfolk County Council agreed the five-bed service was still needed.

Broadland District Councillor John Bracey, a member of the scrunity committee, said: 'It's been a long sad story, but it's good to know that eventually the situation will be resolved. '

Do you have a story about plans to move a community service? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email