A DENTON house is to be converted into a children’s assessment centre rather than a respite centre.
But Tameside Council insists it will still look to create one elsewhere.
The four-bedroomed property on St Lawrence Road was originally meant to be a place where juniors were cared for after being assessed.
However, the authority has changed its mind because it would be cheaper and a better use of space to turn it into an assessment centre.
Put simply, it would be too big.
Tracy Morris, assistant executive director of children’s services at Tameside Council, said: “Buying a property for the assessment unit has been difficult to achieve.
“St Lawrence Road was originally earmarked to be the respite unit but it can be repurposed to deliver the assessment unit while continuing to pursue a property to deliver the respite unit.
“It’s considered to be an appropriate building given its size and its location, which is in easy access of public transport and local amenities.
“The respite unit needs a smaller property. The purchasing of a building to house that is a matter of urgency and a search is underway, we’ll complete that in 2021.
“The cost of that will be less than purchasing a property for the assessment unit.”
A report to Tameside Council’s strategic planning and capital monitoring panel added: “St Lawrence Road is a large four-bedroom property which if it was used as a respite unit would leave some of the space underutilised.
“The property as well as having four bedrooms, could easily accommodate three bedrooms for children alongside a staff sleep in room and office there is also a large amount of living space, a dining room and a large kitchen therefore it is felt this property meets the brief for an assessment unit.
“Using St Lawrence Road as the assessment unit also means that we could deliver the much-needed assessment unit in a more timely way and therefore would be able to avoid spend on children having to be placed in private residential provision due to the lack of internal resource.
“Furthermore it was felt that a suitable property for a respite unit would be easier to source within the Tameside housing market and would be less costly as the respite unit requires a smaller property.”
The original cost of converting to building has ballooned from its initial £48,000 estimate, however.
Further electrical work became necessary and this has resulted in a delay in completion and additional costs of £76,500.
However, a budget of £397,327 that was originally earmarked for buying the assessment unit has now been moved to buying a respite unit.