Bury St Edmunds/Brandon: Care home firm Stowlangtoft Healthcare ‘delighted’ with Park purchase

Roger Catchpole, managing partner and finance director Roger Catchpole, managing partner and finance director

Saturday, August 9, 2014
11:00 AM

An ambitious care home business which was created out of a farm diversification is celebrating a major expansion with the purchase of a second historic building and business.

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Stowlangtoft Healthcare, which runs a luxury nursing home at Stowlangtoft Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, has now acquired the business and assets of Brandon Park Care Home, near Thetford, from BUPA.

The Brandon home, which has enough capacity for 55 residents, will enable the firm to expand its popular offering, said Stowlangtoft Healthcare managing partner Roger Catchpole.

The original Bury business is set on a traditional 850-acre country estate which has been owned and run by the Catchpole family since 1929.

“In 2010, we formed Stowlangtoft Healthcare and at that point we had never been engaged in healthcare before,” explained Mr Catchpole.

“We were farmers in Suffolk. The hall had been in our family for about 80 years but had always been rented out.”

It was leased to a business which used it as a care home for the elderly and when that went into administration in 2009, the family decided to step in and take it on.

Cath, Mr Catchpole’s mother, was a school head who had spent some years as a troubleshooter who was called in to help out schools, while Roger had expertise in property development and marketing.

Ruth, his sister, worked in central government before joining the business in 2011.

Together, they were able able to pool their talents to revive the business.

When they took over the running of the home, based in a listed building, numbers had dropped to about 14, although it was registered for 37 residents.

Using their own employees, they have stripped down and renovated rooms and added en suite facilities where possible.

“We saw a lot more potential in the building as well and we thought the only people who are willing to invest in the building itself are the owners themselves,” said Mr Catchpole.

“We felt there was scope within the building to create further rooms.”

With the creation of 10 rooms within the footprint of the building, the home is now registered for 47 residents and has 39 rooms.

Unlike most care home operators, the Stowlangtoft business likes working sympathetically with period buildings, he said, and he saw the potential of the Brandon site with its “beautiful country setting” and lovely building. “I guess it takes someone who loves the nuances of these homes,” said Mr Catchpole.

The Brandon site has 47 rooms and currently houses 25 residents although it is registered for up to 55.

The renovations team is being expanded to take on the extra work which will be involved at Brandon Park. Mr Catchpole expects they will invest something in the region of £1million in it over the next three or four years.

“We are looking to provide premium care,” he said.

“It’s going to require a lot of hard work but we think it’s a huge opportunity to provide quality care and expand our service.

“Hard work is not something we’re scared of. Coming from a farming family, we are used to working long hours and staying until the job is done.”

There are currently around 70 to 75 staff at Stowlangtoft and about half that at Brandon, he said. He expects to build the Brandon workforce to about 80 or 90 as the business grows.

Ashton KCJ Solicitors advised Stowlangtoft Healthcare in its acquisition of the business.

Geoff Hazlewood, a partner and head of the corporate and commercial team led the transaction, assisted by Ron Clare, a partner in the commercial property team, and Abi Adams assisting on employment matters.

Mr Hazlewood said: “It was a pleasure assisting our clients in growing their care home business – their original acquisition has proved a great success and I am sure this this addition will be equally as successful.”

Mr Catchpole said: “We are delighted to have completed the purchase of such a fabulous care facility.

“We would like to place on record our gratitude to the Ashton KCJ team for their support throughout the acquisition process.”

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