A NEW residential unit, in the form of sheltered housing, could be built on Girvan’s McConnell Square, saving Hillcrest Care Home from closing.

This means there may be hope for those involved in the fight to keep Hillcrest closing for good following next month’s council elections.

Plans to build an additional 12 residential units on McConnell Square have been circling and members of various community bodies in South Carrick have been informed.

Cllr Alec Clark and Cllr Alec Oattes have been involved in the campaign to save the accommodation and have been promised by the head of housing and social care that the current Hillcrest will not close until the new residential unit has been developed and opened. 

Plans should not be affected and carried out by the new council administration.

Cllr Clark said: “Hillcrest is a red line for me. Responsibility for health and social care have moved. Hillcrest and South Lodge in Ayr were reviewed last year. The integration board will provide the services and the buildings will be looked after by South Ayrshire Council.

“Hillcrest has had excellent reviews for years. The staff are excellent. Overall it is a whole new level of care in the community.

"We do not have the same opportunities for care as Ayr, Troon and Prestwick because of the population. The last think we want to do is to move people out of their comfort zone as it can be distressing.

“I have a guarantee that Hillcrest will remain open until the new facility is available for residents and staff to move into. This will be in the form of sheltered housing and we will be able to meet the needs of our residents and the staff.”

Funding can be applied for as the new building will be built on housing lines rather than residential care, which cannot access funding.

The Scottish Government will be able to provide some finances to the sheltered housing as it is no longer in the form of residential accommodation.

Despite the threat of closure, friends of Hillcrest have been organising events to mark key occasions throughout the year and to demonstrate why the unit should remain open. 

Denis W. Reid, Chairman, Friends of Hillcrest also said: “Hillcrest offers one of the highest standards of care not only in South Ayrshire but in Scotland a view fully endorsed by the Care Commission. 

“It is vital that Hillcrest and its staff not only continue the wonderful work they do, but that that it is enhanced to provide up-to-date facilities which given our ageing population will be badly needed in the Carrick area for many years to come. It is essential to Carrick that Hillcrest’s role in the community is secured.”

A spokesman for South Ayrshire Council said that the final decision had not yet been made but would be once the new council are elected.