Work to start soon on £4.5m dementia unit at Kelso

What Murray House will look like.
What Murray House will look like.

Work on the region’s first private-sector specialist residential unit for severe dementia sufferers is set to get under way in November despite its projected cost having gone up by a sixth.

When planning consent for the 18-bedroom development next to the Queen’s House care home in Kelso was granted in March, its estimated cost was put at £3m, but that has now increased by £500,000.

“It’s true the cost at the planning stage was £3m, but since the tenders for construction have come in, the building costs have risen to £3.5m,” explained Ray Jones, chairman of the Queen’s House’s trustees leading the project.

“To this, we have to add around £1m for the legal, surveying, architecture and ground costs, bringing our total outlay to £4.5m. Buildings of this sort are never cheap.

“The upshot is that the project is £500,000 short of its target, but this balance has been underwritten by a private donor to enable work to start.

“We are confident we will achieve the final amount before completion of the unit in November 2018.”

Mr Jones said six different construction companies had submitted tenders for the work, and it has already obtained building warrants.

“The trustees are close to selecting the successful tenderer, and it is hoped the contractor will commence the preparation and building work in November this year,” he said.

The new unit will be known as Murray House at the request of a major donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

It will be built on ground alongside Queen’s House in Angraflat Road and consist of 18 large bedrooms, two common rooms, a reception, laundry, kitchen, offices, quiet room and beauty room.

Queen’s House was built as a 26-bed care home in 2000 and later extended to offer 32 beds, offering residential, nursing and dementia care to residents of both sexes.

“The home has too many people on the waiting list, and there is an urgent need to build a specialist unit for severe dementia residents, especially as the number of Borderers aged over 75 is set to double over the next 20 years,” said Mr Jones.

He confirmed that Queen’s House will require 30 additional staff to run the dementia facility, in addition to the 60 currently employed at the care home.