SCOTTISH Borders councillors have voted to invest £1.5million in four of the local authority's care homes. 

The investment comes following concerns raised over the state of Deanfield Care Home in Hawick.

Deanfield was found to have ‘significant shortcomings’ in its condition, leading to a £2.8 million emergency investment programme being rushed through the council in September. 

An inspection of the council's remaining four homes - Waverley in Galashiels, St Ronan;'s in Innerleithen, Grove House in Kelso and Saltgreens in Eyemouth - found them to be in a poor condition.

At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council on Thursday, councillors were urged to approve the investment of £1.5 million by Martin Joyce, the authority’s director of assets and infrastructure. 

Councillor Tom Weatherston told the meeting: “Over a great number of years we’ve allowed more cosmetic things to go to waste to keep our care homes in an acceptable and safe manner, but let me be clear, they have never not been at an acceptable standard.

“It’s important to remember that this is a five year plan, it’s not going to happen over six months.

“However, we need to improve the fabric of the buildings and improve the standard of the homes.

“I know it’s not always popular to spend money on the fabric of our property estate, but we have now reached a point where we can’t ignore it any longer.”

Although Grove House in a more dire condition, Saltgreens Care Home is in line for the biggest share of the investment, with works totalling £617,500 set to be approved by councillors. 

Officers report that the exterior of the property is in need of redecoration, groundworks and drainage maintenance, as well as the replacement of many windows and doors. 

Other major works scheduled for the property include the replacement of the kitchen, upgrading the lighting, upgrading the heating system and replacing all sanitary fittings and fixtures.

Kelso’s Grove House is in line for a £397,000 investment, which will be used for landscaping and drainage works, as well as upgrades to the external windows and doors of the property. Furthermore, structural works need to be undertaken.

Leader of the council Shona Haslam added: “These homes are in good condition and this is work that will make them even better, and it’s very important that we strive for absolute excellence, these are places that we should be happy to live in, and for our relatives to live in.”

St Ronan's Care Home in Innerleithen will receive £363,000 if the report is approved. Officers report that the property is also in need of a full heating system upgrade, as well as replacing the kitchens and refurbishing the ensuite shower rooms. 

Waverley Care Home in Galashiels will receive the smallest amount from the pot, with £137,000 going towards renewing the heating and lighting systems. There will also be a redecoration of the whole building.

Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell said: “One of the disadvantages of getting older is that I spend more and more time going in and out of care homes visiting friends and relatives.

“I’m of the view that care homes in the Borders are in good condition, and also, in the scheme of things £1.5 million over the next five years is not an unreasonable amount of money in terms of the upkeep and maintenance of buildings that get older and change over time.”