Woking Borough Council’s executive will this evening (Thursday, December 14) consider a recommendation to close Brockhill, the extra-care sheltered housing scheme in Goldsworth Park.

To operate the building safely, Brockhill requires urgent fire-safety remedial works and a heating upgrade, which, combined, is estimated to cost £2.75 million. 

The capital investment required over the next ten years to maintain the building is expected to exceed £5.5m, which is seen as an unviable and disproportionate level of investment for a building that no longer meets modern-day standards.

The report will also recommend commencing formal consultation with residents about their housing needs.

“Residents will be consulted to understand their individual needs and preferences so that we can identify suitable alternative accommodation for them,” a council spokesperson said. 

“Residents who can’t self-evacuate are being prioritised and we have already supported three moves to Hale End Court. Closure is considered the only viable option.”

Cllr Ian Johnson, the council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “The council has done everything possible to the keep the building going. 

“Regardless of our financial challenges, the required expenditure needed to keep the building safe and compliant with regulatory standards is simply unviable for the size and age of the scheme.

“Residents are very aware of the issues we’ve had maintaining the building and have been informed this week of our intention to close Brockhill for good. This was very hard news to deliver, especially as some residents have lived at Brockhill since the scheme opened in 1990. 

“It is becoming apparent that Brockhill is no longer a safe and suitable place for vulnerable residents to live.”

Thirty-two of the 48 self-contained flats at Brockhill are currently occupied by older residents who benefit from extra care on site should they need it to maintain their independence. 

Consultation about the future of the scheme will commence as soon as possible and run for a minimum of 30 days.

Woking Borough Council owns and operates Brockhill as part of its housing stock but individual care packages are provided by Surrey County Council.

When asked by the News & Mail whether there was sufficient extra-care housing available within the borough, the spokesperson added: “The council [Woking] will be working with residents, their families and adult social care to understand their needs and aspirations. This may be extra-care housing, sheltered housing or residential care. We will, however, talk to neighbouring boroughs about their extra-care availability so that we can offer residents a range of options.”  

Many details, however, remain unclear: the rehousing of residents, the future viability of the building and the fate of the staff. 

The council is currently undertaking an organisation-wide restructure, which includes Brockhill employees.