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Axe hangs over Basingstoke care home
ELDERLY residents face upheaval and more than 40 staff could lose their jobs because a Basingstoke care home has been earmarked for closure.
County council chiefs are proposing to shut Deeside residential home, in Alliston Way, South Ham, as it would cost £2.3million to bring it up to modern standards.
The care home, built in 1965, has 29 older residents, who are either physically frail or have dementia, and has 43 full or part-time staff.
Under the proposal, Conservative-run Hampshire County Council would sell off the Basingstoke home, with the proceeds being ploughed into extra care housing – sheltered accommodation modified to suit people with long-term conditions or disabilities.
Staff would be offered either voluntary redundancy or redeployment to other roles in the county council.
Some Deeside residents would be moved to Oakridge Care Home, which is currently being extended, while the county is looking to build a second extra care housing scheme in the town, to complement Newman Court, in Gershwin Road, Brighton Hill.
The council says demand for residential care is falling as more people want to remain independent in their own homes, and adds Deeside’s small bedrooms and the layout of corridors “present particular difficulties”.
But Richard Bambridge, branch secretary for the Unite union at the county council, said staff at Deeside are “absolutely distraught” about the proposal, and he is urging the authority to use its reserves to modernise Deeside and three other homes in Lyndhurst, Petersfield and Romsey. These three have been earmarked for conversion into extra care housing schemes.
Mr Bambridge said: “For the four homes that are set for closure, the county council is giving an estimate of £10million to completely upgrade these homes.
“With over £400million in reserves for Hampshire, this is an absolute drop in the ocean. It just does not stack up financially.”
Deborah Long’s 75-year-old father John Bolton moved from his home in Brighton Hill to Deeside in May, after needing more support for his dementia.
The 48-year-old, of Appletree Close, Oakley, said: “I am really disappointed. I appreciate Deeside is old but it’s a home from home. My dad is stable in there and has made friends. He needs stability, and the staff are brilliant.
“Some of these residents won’t make it if we move these people now. It will totally disrupt them.”
Mrs Long plans to make contact with other relatives of Deeside residents to fight the closure threat, and she has written to Councillor Anna McNair Scott, executive member for adult social care at the county council, signalling her intention to oppose the proposal.
Today, Cllr McNair Scott will decide whether to go ahead with a 12-week consultation on the closure proposal. If a decision is taken to close Deeside, it could shut as early as Spring next year.
Cllr McNair Scott said: “If I agree to a consultation, this will be a very difficult time for residents of the homes, day care clients, families and staff, and I want to be confident that they will be fully supported and helped to take part.”
The local authority is looking to find a further £80m savings by 2015 to cope with a further 10 per cent cut in Government funding. Closing the homes would save £2.4m a year.
The county council also wants to demolish the now derelict Newman Bassett Older Persons Home in Warwick Road, Winklebury.
The home closed in 2007, although a day centre remained open until last December.
The authority has submitted a planning application to demolish the building, to be replaced by a respite centre and housing.
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