Plans by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) to stop providing homes for elderly people are to be challenged at a special council meeting.
Labour councillors have mounted a challenge to the Conservative-led authority’s plans to stop providing homes for elderly people. The councillors have “called-in” a decision made by Councillor Matthew Riddle in which he is authorising the lease of land to an external company instead of the Council building and running two new homes themselves.
Earlier this year, SGC announced plans to close the its eight elderly person’s homes. In their place, the council said it would provide two new nursing homes. The plans were backed by 90% of people during a public consultation.
However, six months later the Conservatives announced that they would not be providing the two new homes but would instead lease the land to an external provider for them to provide the homes. This decision sparked an angry response from Labour councillors and members of staff who felt the Conservatives were doing a U-turn on an agreed strategy. Relatives of residents in the Council’s current homes said they were also unhappy with a further decision to accelerate the closure of the eight existing homes.
Labour councillor Andy Perkins (Woodstock) who chairs the Council committee which scrutinises the work of the adult social services department said;
“When the Council consulted on its plans for the future of elderly persons homes, it could not have been clearer that it would provide two new homes. All of the paperwork before and after the consultation was very clear. And 90% of people supported the consultation option which included the promise of two new council-run homes.”
The Conservatives claim that it was never agreed that they would provide the two new homes and state that an external provider was always possible.
Councillor Perkins added;
“At no stage was anyone ever told that an external provider was on the cards. There is only a vague reference in the consultation options to a “partnership” approach. I think many people will see this U-turn as a kick in the teeth for public consultations. How can anyone have any faith in anything the Conservatives say in the future if they are prepared to go back on their word like this ?”
A special meeting of the Community Care and Housing Select committee will now be arranged so that councillors can examine the proposals and quiz the leading councillor, Matthew Riddle, about his decision. The meeting has to happen within the next month.
Source: Woodstock Labour Councillors