PLANS for a desperately-needed new care home in the Capital have been thrown into doubt after it emerged the site that had been earmarked for the development may instead be sold to a private developer.
The Silverlea care home, which was criticised earlier this year following an inspection by the Care Inspectorate, has been deemed not fit for purpose and it was decided that a multi-million pound replacement facility would be built instead.
Part of the former Royston Primary School site was selected as an ideal location for the new £9 million home due to its size and because it is close to Silverlea Care Home, in Muirhouse Parkway, lessening disruption for elderly residents who would have to move.
The proposals have now been thrown into turmoil after a private firm expressed interest in buying the land for a commercial development, leading the local authority to put plans on hold as it explores how much cash it could pocket from the potential sale.
If the land is sold to a developer, health chiefs will have to go back to the drawing board in their search for a location, potentially leaving residents stuck for longer in what is the council’s oldest home and without the “health and wellbeing” benefits the authority has acknowledged a new home would bring.
Alternative sites at Granton and Granton Harbour, which were previously rejected due to planning restrictions, their size and distance from Silverlea, could come in to play again.
Conservative economy spokesman Jason Rust put the confusion down to “internal squabbles” between the Labour-dominated Health and Wellbeing Committee, which approved the proposals last Tuesday, and the SNP-led Finance Committee, which then put the plans on ice two days later.
He said: “Policy is clearly getting made on the hoof and it seems to change by the day as to whether the new care home will be built or not. We now learn it is going to the Policy and Strategy Committee – ironic as there seems to be no strategic vision whatever. It is disappointing if there is further delay.”
While the name of the interested party has not been revealed, the former Royston Primary site, which has been derelict since 2010, could be attractive to property firms.
The council valued the site at £1m, although only half would be taken up by a care home. Silverlea, which will be put on the market once a replacement is built, is worth £3m.
City health leader Ricky Henderson said that while he understood the move to explore a potential sale, he hoped a decision would be taken as quickly as possible.
“Silverlea isn’t good enough, we need to renew our care homes and I want to see that progressed,” he said. “If there’s a chance of getting a better deal then fair enough but I don’t want to see undue delays.”
A council spokesman said: “No decision was taken at the Finance and Budget Committee for the disposal of the former Royston Primary School site and a further report will come back at a later date.”