CAMPAIGNERS have taken to the streets of Basingstoke to press their case for a care home earmarked for closure to be put to good use.

They want Hampshire County Council, which owns Deeside, in Alliston Way, South Ham, to use the home for respite care up until its closure in October this year.

Last Saturday, a handful of campaigners were in Wote Street, at the Top of The Town, collecting signatures from shoppers willing to back their idea.

Supporting the plan was Tom Coxhead, 66, of Pershore Road, Popley, Basingstoke.

He said: “A friend of mine used to be in Deeside before he died, and we need to keep these places open for our older residents. Deeside has always been a good facility.”

In December, the county council decided to close Deeside, and two other care homes, as bosses claim it would cost £2.3million to bring it up to standard.

Many residents have already moved out of the care home, while others are expected to leave once a specialist dementia wing is built at Oakridge House Care Home.

Lynn Rich, who heads the campaign, said there are 14 spare rooms at Deeside that could be used as a respite centre to care for people with dementia.

The 54-year-old, whose mother-in-law lives in Deeside, said: “They have got a full complement of staff. We have got Easter coming up and the holidays and these carers need a break. The county council keep telling us there is a need for respite care. All we are asking is for them to use Deeside.”

The campaigners hope to get 7,000 signatures before handing in the petition to Hampshire County Council.

They had support on Saturday from UKIP members and Labour borough councillor Sean Keating.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care and public health at Hampshire County Council, has said using Deeside for respite care would affect residents still living there.

In a statement released this month, she added: “The county council’s priority is its duty of care for current residents at Deeside.

“Therefore, it would not be appropriate to offer the home as a temporary respite facility – particularly when Basingstoke has a number of dedicated respite care facilities already in existence, including at Oakridge.”