A dementia day centre in Whitton received the green light for a £1m rebuild.

The Homelink Day Respite Centre, in Hospital Bridge Road, will be redesigned on its current site to create a new state-of-the-art care centre.

The plans received the go-ahead at a planning committee meeting at York House on October 31.

Funding for the project was awarded by Richmond Council and the Government’s Department of Health (DoH) which contributed £760,000.

The funding comes from a £50m pot from the DoH’s pilot project for 79 social care projects across the country for people with dementia and their carers.

The centre is planned to be completed by June 2014.

Councillor David Marlow, council cabinet member for adult services, said: “People with dementia will be offered even better care than ever before thanks to these innovative improvements.

“We are delighted with these plans which will create a wonderful new service for some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents.

“Homelink has provided vital support for the past 16 years and this investment will ensure the service continues to go from strength to strength.

“The new centre will create a dementia friendly environment using the design and colour to create light and airy spaces including a sensory garden designed specifically for people with dementia.”

Planning officers had recommended the committee refuse planning permission for the centre due to the proximity of the new buildings to a nearby poplar tree.

Whitton councillor Liz Jaegar: “In the run up to, and since, the closure of Tangley, the Lib Dems have been very keen to see a project of this nature take off.

“I am delighted the planning application was permitted, despite the planning department's recommendation for refusal.

“Thanks are due to local Councillor John Coombs for his eloquent presentation to persuade the committee to grant approval.”

Since Homelink was awarded the money in January, construction costs have risen significantly.

The council has agreed to contribute a further £250,000 to cover the additional expense.

The DoH projects form part of the first national pilot to showcase the best examples of dementia-friendly environments across England.

The figures for older people in with dementia in the borough is about 2,000 and is predicted to increase by 18 per cent to about 2,300 by 2020.