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Councillors back campaign to keep Deeside care home open
KEEP Deeside care home open – that was the message from many borough councillors as they gave their feedback on a controversial closure plan.
Members of the borough’s housing and environment overview and scrutiny committee also criticised a lack of information about the plan, with one councillor – Labour Councillor Sean Keating – branding it a “sham consultation”.
Councillors discussed Hampshire County Council’s plan to close four residential care homes in the county, including Deeside, in Alliston Way, South Ham, where 25 people, some of whom have dementia, currently live.
The borough council was asked to respond to the consultation on the plan before the county council makes a decision on Deeside’s future on December 9.
The county council believes it will cost £2.3million to upgrade the care home, and instead wants to invest in Extra Care schemes, like Newman Court, in Brighton Hill.
But Peter Rush, extra care strategic commissioning manager at Hampshire County Council, told councillors the exact costing for keeping the care home open is still being worked on.
Cllr Martin Biermann, ward member for Chineham, said the consultation had an “unhealthy smell about it” and that the cost of refurbishing Deeside should have been the first thing to look at.
And Cllr Cathy Ossleton, the borough council’s Cabinet member for partnerships, who submitted the borough council’s final response, said she was getting “mixed messages” from county council officers about whether Deeside is not fit-for-purpose or could continue to be used.
She added: “I’m not into the politics – I’m into the people. I think it’s time we listened to our residents and the people of Basingstoke.”
The meeting had previously heard from members of the Save Deeside group, who last week previously handed in a 4,500-strong petition to Hampshire County Council to keep the care home open.
Cllr Robert Taylor, ward member for Buckskin, who had called for the debate, also spoke out against the closure plan.
A majority of Labour, Liberal Democrats and Independent members voted for a proposal put forward by Cllr Keating to keep Deeside open.
Five Conservative members abstained, while committee chairman Cllr Stephen Marks was the only one to vote against.
On Tuesday, Cllr Ossleton put forward an official response to keep the care home open for as long as the current residents need it.
She had been given extra time to respond, despite the consultation closing last Friday.
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