A five-month sit-in by an elderly pensioner at a Leeds old folks’ home has cost the council more than £110,000.
The woman, in her 80s, refused to leave Harry Booth House in Beeston when all the other residents were moved out by the start of this year.
She is now the only person living in the two-storey, 40-bed building on Atha Crescent.
The YEP has learned 15 staff have had to be kept on to look after her round-the-clock for the last five months – at a cost of £5,500 a week.
Her refusal to budge has forced delays to £2.5m plans to turn the property into the city’s first intermediate care facility.
A report to the council’s executive board lists the woman’s continued occupation of the building as a ‘key project risk’ to the plans.
It said an asbestos survey could not take place while she remained on site.
“Failure to undertake the survey could result in potential contractors making high and potentially unnecessary allowances in their tender submissions for the removal of such material,” the report said.
“If the survey is not undertaken and asbestos is subsequently identified once works commence on site, there will be significant cost and programme implications.”
The council’s executive board approved plans for the intermediate care facility – looking after elderly patients who were discharged from hospital before going home – last September.
Under the plans the building would be completely refurbished at an estimated cost of £2,487,000. It would have 30 nursing and ten residential beds for stays of up to six weeks.
Despite some objections, the vast majority of residents were moved out by the end of last year. The new facility is due to open next April.
But the woman’s sit-in has already caused the project to be delayed by two weeks.
A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “Our resident’s well-being is our prime concern and we are working closely with her and her family to facilitate her move to the residential care home that the majority of other former residents of Harry Booth House have moved to successfully.
“We will continue to support the lady and her family to ensure that the move goes ahead smoothly and that she is given lots of help to settle into her new home.
“Only then will we press ahead with the refurbishment of Harry Booth House, so that it can begin its new life as the city’s first intermediate care unit.”
The council hopes the woman will be re-homed within the next month.
The executive board is being recommended to approve the design proposals today. (June 20)