Controversial nursing home plans to go ahead

Posted on Saturday 11th December 2010 at 10:16 pm by SH (Editor)

A Labour councillor’s view of a recent decision by South Gloucestershire Council

Plans by a local council to stop providing homes for elderly people are to go ahead despite being challenged by opposition councillors.

Labour councillors on South Gloucestershire Council had challenged the Conservative-led authority’s plans to stop providing homes for elderly people. The councillors “called-in” a decision made by Conservative Councillor Matthew Riddle in which he authorised the lease of land to an external company to build and run two new nursing homes. Labour councillors complained that this was a U-turn on a previously agreed plan in which the Council would have built and run the new homes.

A special meeting of the Community Care and Housing Select committee was convened at the end of October to debate arguments about the proposed changes and to challenge Councillor Riddle’s decision. The committee voted by seven to six to ask Councillor Riddle to think again and undertake proper consultation on the proposed U-turn.

Now, however, Councillor Riddle has ignored the committee’s views and his plans will go ahead. From 2014, when the final existing elderly persons’ home closes, South Gloucestershire Council will no longer run any housing for elderly people.

Labour councillor Andy Perkins (Woodstock) who chairs the Council committee which scrutinises the work of the adult social services department said:

“I am deeply disappointed by this decision. The Conservatives have no mandate to do this. When the Council consulted on its plans for the future of elderly persons’ homes in the autumn last year, 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 was only one vague reference in the consultation options to a “partnership” approach. I think this U-turn is a kick in the teeth for public consultations. People rightly feel misled and will be sceptical about anything the Conservatives say in the future if they are prepared to go back on their word like this.”

Source: Woodstock Labour Councillors


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