Cost of building dementia day centre in Mirfield almost doubles in a year

The cost of building a new dementia day centre in Mirfield has almost doubled in less than a year.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 4:15 pm
An artist’s impression of the exterior view of proposed new Knowl Park House and Centre of Excellence, Mirfield
An artist’s impression of the exterior view of proposed new Knowl Park House and Centre of Excellence, Mirfield

Replacing 59-year-old Knowl Park House with a brand new facility was originally budgeted to cost £5m.

Last September Kirklees Council heard that £6.3m was needed and agreed to increase funding.

The blame was put on “significant rises in construction materials associated with Covid and Brexit”.

Sign up to our daily Dewsbury Reporter Today newsletter

Now the cost has gone up again by a further £1.9m, pushing the bill to £8.2m. That will cover the cost of hiring consultant architects Frank Shaw Associates as well as staffing, equipment and furniture.

Work on site is programmed for June 2022. The anticipated completion date has also pushed forward, from the spring of 2023 to the autumn.

A report to the council’s decision-making cabinet said market conditions in the construction world remain “volatile and difficult, which has resulted in the successful tender bid being higher than anticipated”.

Coun Mus Khan said the existing facilities were “no longer fit” for the delivery of services and that the new building would provide the “very best” facilities for the future.

She added: “The site will also provide a variety of support to enable people with a range of disabilities to continue to live in their homes independently for as long as possible.”

Kirklees Council revealed in January 2020 that it wanted to re-design its dementia care and that it was looking to commission two new purpose-designed day centres for people with complex needs associated with dementia.

It opted to create new buildings at its 25-place facilities at Knowl Park House, Mirfield, and the Homestead, Almondbury and to demolish the existing sites.

Day care users were re-located from the ageing two-storey flat-roof building in Mirfield to alternative premises in Heckmondwike.

Plans for Knowl Park House include a Living Well Centre – formerly referred to as a Centre of Excellence – that will offer advice and support for people with a dementia diagnosis, their carers, and adults and children with other physical and sensory disabilities.

Local councillor Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) said the new centre was “replacing something that had gone past its sell-by date”.

He added: “We are getting a facility that is bringing jobs into Mirfield for the care sector. That will impact on the wider community and the local economy and is all to be welcomed.”

Coun Bolt raised a question about the future of Knowl House, a historic mansion and grounds in Mirfield that was gifted to the town by mill magnate owners the Walker family and was previously used as offices.

He said it seemed “not to be maintained fully” and expressed hope that the council would “now start looking at that”.