Further delays for respite care in St Albans following Nascot Lawn closure

The outside of Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford. Photo: Danny Loo.

The outside of Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford. Photo: Danny Loo. - Credit: Archant

The future of funding for respite care in St Albans is uncertain, after a legal agreement was delayed due to spelling mistakes.

Nascot Lawn respite centre in Watford used to provide overnight short breaks for children with complex needs from across the county, but closed down in November.

A formal legal agreement, called a Section 75, between Herts County Council and Herts Valleys and East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), was expected to be finalised in the autumn, before Nascot Lawn closed.

Earlier this month it emerged the process had been delayed because health and council bosses could not agree on a clause which would allow the CCGs to call time on an agreement after two years, with an additional 12-month notice period.

In a county council meeting on Tuesday, March 26, the process was revealed to be further delayed because of a number of spelling mistakes.

Cllr Teresa Heritage, executive member for children, young people and families at the county council, said: “I am now told that we have the deeds which have to be sealed, but the lawyers from some of our partners didn’t pick up some spelling mistakes – so we have to go back and then they will be signed.”

She told the committee the delays with the document have not affected any of the children who attended Nascot Lawn in their ability to access alternative provision.

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Most of the children are now receiving their packages of respite care, but Cllr Heritage said two parents are “taking a little bit more time to make decisions”.

Before Nascot Lawn closed, the county council applied to build a single-storey, two-bedroom extension at West Hyde Short Breaks Centre near Rickmansworth.

Cllr Heritage said the building work has now been completed “on time and in budget”, and that they are now waiting for Ofsted to inspect it.

When the agreement is eventually finalised, it is expected that both CCGS will commit £100,000 a year towards the provision of overnight short breaks.

Herts Valleys CCG’s decision to close Nascot Lawn was met with opposition from parents whose children used the centre, who formed the Save NHS Nascot Lawn group.