SECRECY continues to surround a delayed multi-million pound project to build two "super care homes" in York.

Seven City of York Council care homes are due to be replaced by new homes on the former Lowfield and Burnholme Community College sites at a previously reported projected construction cost of £25 million to £30 million.

For nearly a year City of York Council has told The Press it cannot comment on delays as it has is in the competitive stage of the procurement process.

However problems were revealed in reports by external auditors Mazars which found initial plans for the homes were flawed and failed to make £600,000 of savings.

When questioned about progress of the project at the council’s Health and Scrutiny Committee this week, Guy Van Dichele, interim director of adult social care, said there had been very little progress.

He said: “In terms of where we’re up to – and I know it’s been a long time we have been saying the same thing – we’re still in the dialogue stage with the providers, who have responded to the tender and I’m legally not allowed to have a discussion about where that dialogue is going."

When asked whether the homes would be ready by the projected date, Mr Van Dichele said he “would like to say yes... because it’s my intention to make sure the homes we have got are fit for purpose, regardless of what method that it”.

He said current homes are not fit for purpose and so “if not this route it will be a route that gets us to where we need to be”.

Building on the project, which will provide 162 beds, should start this year and be finished by 2016.

The new care home facilities will offer specialist support for elderly people with dementia and high dependency needs.

When The Press asked what was happening with the super homes plan, Mr Van Dichele said via the council’s press office: “The council is still in the competitive dialogue stage of the procurement process and this will continue for some time.

“As such we are bound by strict confidentiality and cannot comment on the detailed discussions taking place until this is completed.”

Last year it was reported York was among the worst performing places in the country for hospital bed blocking, where patients were ready to leave hospital or care but could not because there was social care plans or care home available for them to go to.