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New lease of life for former care home?

PUBLISHED: 17:38 23 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:29 12 July 2010

A former specialist care home in Long Stratton could be set for a new lease of life after a consultation was launched into its future use.

Cygnet House, which was a residential unit for people with dementia, has been sitting idle since it was controversially closed four years ago after a shake-up of mental health services in the county.

A former specialist care home in Long Stratton could be set for a new lease of life after a consultation was launched into its future use.

Cygnet House, which was a residential unit for people with dementia, has been sitting idle since it was controversially closed four years ago after a shake-up of mental health services in the county.

Now new life could be breathed into the mothballed building in Swan Lane after its neighbours, South Norfolk Council, bought the property.

The district council has commissioned educational charity, the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, to run a consultation next month to find out what local people want from a new-look Cygnet House.

Officials from South Norfolk Council said the three day exercise will be “completely open minded” and will help shape the future of the site next to South Norfolk House.

Any proposal would require funding to renovate or redevelop the former care home in Long Stratton, which was shut by the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust in 2006, despite a community campaign to keep it open.

Alison Thomas, local district and county councillor, said it was important that villagers had their say at the community “brainstorming sessions.”

“It is in a poor state and because it was built as a care home, we have to be quite creative about what we do with it and the area around it.”

“It is important that the community is engaged because that area of the village is a community hub with the council offices, leisure centre, schools and doctors' surgery and it is important we get it right.”

“It is one of those chicken and egg situations. We cannot find finance until we know what we are trying to finance. Who knows what may come up? It may be an exciting thing for the village to be involved in,” she said.

The public meetings will take place on Tuesday, April 20 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and Wednesday, April 21 between 5.30pm and 7.30pm at South Norfolk House. The Prince's Foundation will present a vision for the site from 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Thursday, April 22.

Hank Dittmar, chief executive of The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, said: “The Prince's Foundation is looking forward very much to working with the local community at Long Stratton to consider how best to ensure a sustainable future for the site at Cygnet House and adjacent to the South Norfolk Council offices.”

“We will be using our Enquiry by Design approach which enables a very high level of public involvement - empowering local people to design the kind of neighbourhood they'd like to live in.”


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