Cabinet considers future of Parkhill Lodge residents

Rotherham Council's Cabinet is expected to recommend that 16 adults with learning disabilities will not move back to the Parkhill Lodge residential care home.

And that plans to build a new modern facility are considered in the future.

The residents moved from Parkhill Lodge in Maltby in October 2020 when a significant COVID-19 outbreak amongst residents and staff could not be contained due to the building’s outdated design and layout.

Residents were moved to a dedicated separate unit within the Lord Hardy Court care home building in Rawmarsh as it offered facilities to better manage infection control measures and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Parkhill Lodge residential care service has continued to be operated from this building as a temporary measure.

Following a consultation with residents and their relatives, and reports commissioned in relation to the building and infection prevention and control measures, the Cabinet is being recommended to approve proposals for the Parkhill Lodge residential service to remain at Lord Hardy Court on an interim basis pending the delivery of new accommodation for people with autism and a learning disabilities. The Parkhill Lodge building is recommended for closure.

The decision will be made at the Cabinet meeting on December 20.

The recommendations before cabinet highlight that comprehensive works would have to be undertaken to make Parkhill Lodge suitable for residents to return and these could take up to a year to complete, making it impossible for residents to return to the building in the short term.

Key issues at Parkhill Lodge include:

  • Outdated building design not built to current residential accommodation or accessibility standards, including shared bathroom facilities and no lifts
  • Very small bedrooms – limiting space for personal possessions
  • Asbestos is present in the building. This limits safe and ready access for ongoing maintenance.
  • Concrete frame, structural walls and shallow floorplan severely limits the scope for extensive re-design work.

Works required to the building include asbestos removal, replacement of rotten timber and a new heating system.

Councillor David Roche, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: “Ultimately we want to build new accommodation that matches our ambition to provide the best possible facilities for residents. Sadly, there are significant challenges to trying to ensure the Parkhill Lodge building would be safe until then, especially in light of the on-going pandemic.

“We are fortunate to be in the position of being able to continue to provide safe accommodation at Lord Hardy Court, and we want to be able to give residents as much certainty as we can. It’s entirely understandable that some of the residents will want to return to Parkhill Lodge, however we cannot place them into an environment which could put their health in danger.

“We have to look to the future and we are working with residents, their families and with staff to give them the best possible living environment both in the long term, and the interim before then.”

Published: 14th December 2021