Campaigners refuse to give up fight to save Deeside care home

Protesters outside the council offices.

Protesters outside the council offices.

First published in News Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

CAMPAIGNERS protesting against the closure of a Basingstoke care home have vowed to fight to the end despite councillors putting another nail in its coffin.

Last Friday, members of the county council’s safe and healthy people select committee endorsed, via a majority vote, a final recommendation to close Deeside, in Alliston Way, South Ham, along with two other care homes in Romsey and Petersfield. A fourth home in Lymington will stay open.

Campaigners gathered outside Hampshire County Council’s headquarters, in Winchester, ahead of the meeting to make their views known.

In a report prepared for the meeting, it stated that feedback received during the consultations indicated that “the majority of people who took part in the consultation were opposed to the closure”. A petition with 7,301 signatures against the Deeside closure was also submitted.

Despite the strength of opposition, councillors endorsed the recommendation that Deeside, and the other two homes, should close. A final decision will be made by the council’s Cabinet on December 9.

The report said it is “not economically viable to run smaller homes” and that it would cost £2.3million to bring Deeside “up to modern standards.”

It added that Deeside is not suitable for the development of Extra Care assisted living, and that it could be a potential site for affordable housing instead.

An informal approach about the site has been received from a housing association, and money raised from any sale would be used to develop Extra Care facilities in Basingstoke.

County officers recommended that the closure of Deeside, which has 25 residents, should be delayed until the new extension at Oakridge Care Home is ready to receive up to 10 residents in autumn 2014.

However, Debbie Long, whose father John Bolton is a Deeside resident, said that during the meeting it was confirmed that all 25 Deeside residents could be accommodated at Oakridge.

She stepped down as chair of the Save Deeside group following the meeting, and was sceptical about the promises made, saying: “There’s no way they can get 25 residents in there within a year. Unless they all go in there, I don’t want my dad going in there.”

Fellow campaigner Lynn Rich, whose mother-in-law is a Deeside resident, said the group is now pushing for a “fairer decision” to be taken by the whole council, rather than the Cabinet.

She said: “How can just a few people make a decision? The elected councillors have a right to have their say. We are most definitely carrying on the fight.”

In a statement from Hampshire County Council, Councillor Patricia Stallard, chair of the select committee, said: “The scrutiny meeting allowed a full and frank debate on the overall proposals put forward.”

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