Wilmorton Chapel has stood empty for a number of years
A rundown former chapel in Derby could be turned into a residential care home for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities.
Plans have been submitted to Derby City Council to convert Wilmorton Chapel, in London Road, into a 30-bedroom home.
An organisation called Universal Rainbow of Care wants to revamp the property to create accommodation for people with learning disabilities, mental health illnesses, autism and challenging behaviours, so that they can live as independently as possible.
Universal Rainbow of Care already operates a similar facility called Alvaston House, which is also in London Road, just a short distance from Wilmorton Chapel.
The former Wesleyan chapel, which was built around 1901, has stood empty for a number of years and is in a state of disrepair.
The building was last used in conjunction with the former Wilmorton Primary School next door. When the school closed, its buildings were converted into business units to create the Schoolhouse Business Centre.
However, the chapel was not part of that scheme – and despite being marketed for more than seven years, it has remained unoccupied.
If the plans are given the go-ahead, a total of 29 full-time jobs would be created, including nurses, carers and kitchen staff.
Planning documents submitted to the city council by AK Innovative Design Solutions say: “The existing building has been identified by the applicant Universal Rainbow of Care as matching the criteria required by the Care Quality Commission to provide accommodation which will promote integration of the service users into the local community.
“The building currently looks rundown and in many respects is a worsening liability.
“However, it is as a good location for the proposed development for a residential care home for people with learning disabilities, mental health illnesses, autism and challenging behaviours.”
In a statement provided by Universal Rainbow of Care as part of the application, it said: “Our aim is to provision high quality residential care for the adults through careful stewardship of resources and ethically-based operations in a manner that maintains good quality outcomes.
“The opportunities and challenges facing the UK’s social services sector have never been greater.
“The EU referendum, increasing demographic pressure on social care and the impact of welfare reform have contributed to a shifting landscape for patient care.
“With an ageing population, families who may live far from one another, the National Living Wage, an NHS that is struggling to cope and local authority funding cuts, social care is facing a perfect storm.
“To overcome such challenges, fresh thinking about the services is required. The adult care sector in particular needs a choice of high quality accommodation and support options.”