Surrey County Council’s £ 24m plan to support people with learning disabilities to live independently

Three supported independent living sites costing £ 24 million could be developed under plans by Surrey County Council. The new housing would enable scores of residents with a learning difficulty and / or autism to live more independently, and is hoped to be ready by May 2024.

There would be 10 shared and six individual units at the former Manor School in Byfleet, which was demolished in 2018 after closing nearly a decade earlier. The same would be provided at the former Horley Library, plus 12 individual units at Horley and Coveham Hostel in Cobham.

Councilor Sinead Mooney, cabinet member for adults and health, said: “Particularly with learning disability and autism, we do have residents in placements outside of the county and they have expressed a real desire to come back to their home close to their family and friends . ”

Read more: Surrey to get £ 100m special educational needs bailout and slammed for ‘failure’

The council wants to cut by half within five years the number of its residents with a learning disability living in residential care, and instead enable them to “make choices about the support they get to live their lives and who they get it from”. The new housing would have private gardens and space for one or two care workers.

Councilor Natalie Bramhall, cabinet member for property and waste, assured the resources and performance select committee on Thursday (April 14) that the scheme’s budget was “adequate and deliverable” and contracts manager Elaine McKenna said they were not expecting any planning delays.

Committee chairman Nick Darby said: “I personally fully endorse the ambitions and intentions overall.” The council estimates over 500 new units will be required to meet current need and another 350 over five years. Cabinet is expected to approve the funding for this first batch on April 26.

Anthony Wybrow, assistant director for capital delivery, said a second batch is due to be presented to cabinet within the next six months and a third by the end of this financial year.

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